Kamui Kobayashi wades through the deluge

Kamui Kobayashi has posted the fastest lap time in a soaked opening practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix. With the rather typical weather on display, the teams and drivers only ventured out for a few laps in a bid to conserve their wet-weather tyres for use later this weekend when more rain is expected to hit.

The Sauber driver was actually the only one brave enough to attempt a flying lap, with his initial time of 2:17.705 remaining the fastest of the session until the final forty minutes.

While the rain barely eased, most of the field opted to hit the circuit for a few timed laps, and it was the Toro Rosso pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne claimed top spot, before Kobayashi started to trade fastest times with them, along with Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.

With just over 15 minutes to go, Kobayashi went back to the top of the timesheets with a 2:11.389, beating Maldonado’s best effort by half a second, with Ricciardo and Vergne completing the top four, ahead of Mark Webber, Sergio Pérez, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, who was tenth-fastest on his 300th Grand Prix weekend.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen, two of favourite drivers to win this weekend, opted not to post representative lap-times, while Felipe Massa was another not to do so – although his running was curtailed when he stopped with smoke pouring from the rear of his Ferrari.


2012 Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 2:11.389   19
2. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 2:11.941 + 0.552 14
3. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 2:12.004 + 0.615 12
4. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 2:12.824 + 1.435 15
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 2:13.191 + 1.802 13
6. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 2:13.861 + 2.472 16
7. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 2:14.210 + 2.821 14
8. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW34 2:14.660 + 3.271 16
9. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 2:14.860 + 3.471 12
10. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 2:15.402 + 4.013 13
11. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 2:15.812 + 4.423 11
12. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 2:16.409 + 5.020 16
13. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 2:16.786 + 5.397 10
14. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 2:16.788 + 5.399 16
15. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 2:16.827 + 5.438 5
16. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 2:16.861 + 5.472 8
17. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 2:17.519 + 6.130 14
18. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 2:18.199 + 6.810 10
19. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 2:19.546 + 8.157 12
20. Dani Clos ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 2:19.689 + 8.300 12
21. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 2:38.701 + 27.312 9
22. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 2:40.749 + 29.360 4
23. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 2:46.580 + 35.191 9
24. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 no time   2

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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