Pastor Maldonado was the fastest driver in the second practice session for the German Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado has popped up at the top of the timesheets on a gloomy afternoon’s running in the second practice session at the German Grand Prix.

The Williams beat Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg to top spot by less than one-tenth of a season, while Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher had a heavy crash in the closing minutes to bring the session to a premature close. Schumacher was unscathed, but his car was seriously damaged.

Conditions were again bleak when the track opened for business, as the heavens decided to deposit their contents on the Hockenheim circuit between practice sessions. It took almost half an hour before a few brave souls ventured out and attempted to clock some lap times, but the track got busier as conditions steadily improved, only for the rain to come back again later on.

The owner of the provisionally fastest time changed rapidly midway through the session as the field took the decision to switch from wet to intermediate tyres, and it was here that Maldonado popped up in top spot and remained there when conditions worsened once again.

Behind the leading pair, Sebastian Vettel finished third-quickest ahead of Sergio Pérez and Romain Grosjean to complete the top five placings, ahead of Nico Hülkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo (whose session ended early when he spun off and beached his Toro Rosso), Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Kimi Räikkönen.

Much of the field was able to complete a decent amount of running, with the exception being Pedro de la Rosa, whose HRTF1 entry was confined to the garage during the best track conditions while a braking issue was investigated.

Schumacher guards his mangled MercSchumacher managed to bring proceedings to a close in the final minutes with a heavy accident as he entered the stadium section of the circuit.

Admitting that he was distracted trying to juggle radio messages and performing some adjustments on his car in the cockpit, the German dropped a wheel on a damp white line and lurched into the wall at speed.

All four corners of his Mercedes were comprehensively destroyed, leaving his mechanics with a huge amount of repair work to complete overnight.

2012 German Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 1:27.476   14
2. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:27.564 + 0.088 24
3. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:27.902 + 0.426 24
4. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:28.402 + 0.926 26
5. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:28.420 + 0.944 20
6. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:28.495 + 1.019 22
7. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:28.513 + 1.037 23
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:28.516 + 1.040 16
9. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:28.877 + 1.401 21
10. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:29.327 + 1.851 22
11. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:29.364 + 1.888 26
12. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:29.719 + 2.243 15
13. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:29.785 + 2.309 24
14. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:30.090 + 2.614 19
15. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:30.220 + 2.744 16
16. Bruno Senna BRA Williams Renault FW34 1:30.291 + 2.815 22
17. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 1:30.331 + 2.855 26
18. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:30.437 + 2.961 14
19. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:30.617 + 3.141 16
20. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:31.207 + 3.731 20
21. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:32.241 + 4.765 22
22. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:32.349 + 4.873 17
23. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:32.777 + 5.301 18
24. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:42.566 + 15.090 8

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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.