Faster than a speeding bullet? Not quite, but Romain Grosjean was still fastest in FP1 at Silverstone

Romain Grosjean has had a busy week leading into the British Grand Prix. He married his long-time sweetheart last week, and spent yesterday afternoon admiring Batman’s latest vehicle of choice as part of Lotus’ one-race sponsorship deal to promote The Dark Knight Rises.

No doubt he was wishing he had the Tumbler vehicle’s ground clearance and amazingly-treaded tyres in this morning’s rain-soaked opening practice session at Silverstone. But he needn’t have worried, managing to top the timesheets.

Rain-heavy skies greeted the teams and the traffic-logged approach roads leading into Silverstone when the track opened for business, and conditions only worsened over the course of the next ninety minutes.

Bucking the trend from past wet-weather sessions this season, most of the runners tried to put some mileage together and gather data for the weekend ahead – a wise move considering forecasters are predicting these conditions will remain until Sunday night.

Grosjean took a trip through the mudOnly Fernando Alonso and the two Force India runners opted to save the stopwatches the trouble of recording a timed lap.

As conditions worsened, those who appeared at the pointier end of the timesheets were the ones who managed to cobble together a lap early in the session, Grosjean’s marker of 1:56.552 was posted just over half an hour into the session, and it ultimately proved unmatchable.

That being said, he was one of several drivers to find the conditions tough going, and on his very next lap he slid off into the grass at Becketts. The likes of both Saubers, Timo Glock and HRT reserve driver Dani Clos also had spins during the session, but all managed to keep their cars out of the barriers.

Daniel Ricciardo finished the session second-fastest, an unusually high result in his lacklustre Toro Rosso STR7. Perhaps promisingly for the Italian team, team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne was tenth-fastest.

The home fans had something to cheer about when Lewis Hamilton popped into third-quickest in his McLaren. The 2008 race-winner led Sergio Pérez, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Vergne to complete the top ten.

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

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:56.552   13
2. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:56.827 + 0.275 10
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:57.174 + 0.622 6
4. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:57.664 + 1.112 11
5. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:58.119 + 1.567 7
6. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:58.463 + 1.911 7
7. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:58.483 + 1.931 19
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:58.493 + 1.941 10
9. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:58.942 + 2.390 8
10. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:59.076 + 2.524 12
11. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:59.414 + 2.862 11
12. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:59.614 + 3.062 9
13. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW34 1:59.733 + 3.181 7
14. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 1:59.787 + 3.235 10
15. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 2:00.125 + 3.573 5
16. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 2:00.253 + 3.701 6
17. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 2:01.834 + 5.282 6
18. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 2:01.835 + 5.283 6
19. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 2:04.341 + 7.789 9
20. Dani Clos ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 2:05.022 + 8.470 11
21. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 2:11.760 + 15.208 6
22. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 no time   4
23. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 no time   3
24. Jules Bianchi FRA Force India Mercedes VJM05 no time   1

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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.