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Fri, 20 July, 2012Button, Maldonado top free practices in Germany

  • Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27). 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Practice day. Sepang, Malaysia. Friday 23 March 2012. © McLaren.

Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado were the fastest men in Hockenheim on Friday as race weekend preparations were hampered by rain during both free practice sessions. Of the three hours of running, only the first 20 minutes of the morning session were dry, with the remainder of the day being run on a wet or damp track.

Button set the pace during the morning session, posting a time of 1m16.595s during the early dry spell. Showers throughout the session thereafter meant the track never fully dried, although teams and drivers were able to continue working on slick tyre evaluation runs.

The afternoon session was significantly wetter, with all teams staying on either wet or intermediate tyres. Pastor Maldonado set the pace at a 1m27.476s during the second half of the session during a brief lull in the showers as the track began to dry, but the showers returned just as slicks were being fitted.

The tricky conditions didn't pass without the track claiming one or two victims, with Williams' Valtteri Bottas (deputising for Bruno Senna as usual) crashing at the Sachs Kurve in the dying minutes of the morning session, before Mercedes' Michael Schumacher crashed in almost the same place at the same time during the afternoon session.

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