Fernando Alonso

German GP – An uncertain start at the Hockenheim circuit
Hockenheim, 20 July – The track was wet at times throughout the cars’ first appearance at the 59th German Grand Prix, tenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship this morning. At the end of the session, the two McLarens were quickest, with Jenson Button (1.16.595) ahead of Lewis Hamilton (1.17.093.) Next up was the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, third in 1.17.370, while in the other F2012, Felipe Massa was eighth, completing 22 laps with a best time of 1.17.995. Both Ferrari men evaluated some aero updates brought to Germany. Fernando did three runs on the Medium, while Felipe did his first two runs on the experimental Hard tyre brought here by Pirelli.

The second free practice session gets underway as usual at 14.00

German GP – Bad weather hits again
Hockenheim, 20 July – Intermittent rain this morning was just a foretaste of the heavier downpour that hit the Hockenheimring this afternoon in the second session. The track was almost undriveable for much of the time, with few cars venturing out on the Extreme wets. In fact the Ferraris did not take to the track until 40 minutes into FP2 to try the Pirelli blue Cinturatos. As the rain eased, both drivers switched to Intermediates and as in England two weeks ago, the two F2012s proved to be very well balanced in the adverse conditions. In the last 30 minutes, it seemed that the sun might even poke out from behind the clouds, but the rain soon returned to definitively end the session with a red flag because of Schumacher’s accident, thus prematurely stopping the usual Friday programme.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were 12th and 20th fastest in times of 1.29.719 and 1.31.207 respectively. Maldonaldo was fastest for Williams (1.27.476,) followed by Rosberg in the Mercedes (1.27.564) and Vettel in the Red Bull (1.27.902.)

German GP – A confusing day in Germany
Hockenheim, 20 July – Whether one believes it is down to Global Warming, or the coming of a second Ice Age, it cannot be denied that, for much of Europe, this is one of the wettest summers on record. Hockenheim, normally one of the hottest and stickiest race venues on the F1 calendar, has followed the trend we saw in Silverstone two weeks ago, with plenty of rain falling on the Baden-Wurttemberg region, especially this afternoon. The 90 minutes in the morning was run mainly in the dry, but even then, there were sporadic rain showers to interrupt Scuderia Ferrari’s busy programme. Aerodynamic updates, experimental Hard tyres from Pirelli and other work all coming on top of the usual Friday tasks, meant that a wet track was definitely not wanted. However, nothing is ever wasted in F1 and, as there is a chance of more rain for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying, then at least Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were able to evaluate these conditions too. And one should not forget that the conditions are the same for the eleven other teams.

With two tyres for a wet track, the two usual slick ones – Medium and Soft – as well as an experimental new Hard that Pirelli brought for teams to try, evaluating the relative performance between cars and drivers today was even harder than usual on a Friday. This explains why Fernando could be third fastest in the morning and then down in twentieth spot in the afternoon, while Felipe was eighth and then twelfth. Hockenheim can hardly be considered a new Formula 1 venue, because it is a part of the very fabric of Grand Prix racing, however it is true that the teams have not been here since 2010, as the venue alternates with the Nurburgring in hosting this race. That means existing data is less relevant than at some other tracks, given we have never raced here on the current Pirellis, nor has DRS been available. Therefore, once again, it looks as though the remaining one hour of free practice tomorrow morning will see a lot of track action, at least if it’s dry.

German GP – Another wet Friday
Into every life, a little rain must fall, but every fortnight?… Two weeks on from the incessant rain in Silverstone, this Friday in Hockenheim was also affected by adverse weather. At least here, the first session was partly spared, but the drops of rain fell intermittently which therefore made the management of the work planned by the Scuderia relatively complicated for this first day of the German Grand Prix. As usual on Friday, there were a lot of irons in the fire, in terms of updates on the F2012 for this race and for the rest of the season. In total, 78 laps were completed, equivalent to just over 350 kilometres.

Fernando Alonso: “All in all, I am reasonably pleased with how things went. We ran in various conditions, going from the dry to a damp track and then a completely wet one and tomorrow, at least according to the weather forecast at the moment, we could have a very similar scenario to today when it comes to qualifying. The car behaved well in all conditions, which is always a good thing and we were also able to see how the various types of tyre worked and when was the right moment to switch from one to another. The technical updates on the car? We did not have enough time to evaluate them in depth: let’s hope we can do that tomorrow.”

Felipe Massa: “As happened in Silverstone, here in Hockenheim the rain also made life difficult. This morning, the conditions were changing quickly and it was hard to get a run of clean laps which were useful enough to evaluate the performance of the new components we brought here. In the afternoon, we did not even get a chance to do a single lap with dry tyres, so we concentrated on understanding the behaviour of the car in the wet. It’s always difficult to give a judgement when you run in conditions like this, but I have to say the car was going pretty well, so we are reasonably pleased. It is even more complicated to say where we are in the dry, because we did not run enough. Let’s see if tomorrow we manage to do a few more laps, but at the moment, the forecast is not very encouraging.”

Pat Fry: “At least it seems that the rain is not just an English phenomenon this summer! Joking apart, we would definitely have preferred a nice sunny day or at least, a dry track throughout in order to get through all the work programme we had planned for today. Unfortunately, we were only able to do a few laps on the dry tyres this morning, however, not many of these were useful, because the rain kept making an appearance. From what we could see, the car seems to be more or less alright in terms of balance, both in the dry and the wet. Some of the updates we have here proved to be okay right from the start, while in order to evaluate the others fully, we need to analyse carefully what little data we were able to gather today. Tomorrow, the possibility of having another wet qualifying seems quite high, while for the race, it is meant to be dry. At Silverstone, we were competitive in both conditions: let’s hope the same applies here too.”

First session Second session
Driver Pos. Time Laps Pos. Time Laps Chassis
F. Alonso 3rd 1.17.370 21 20th 1.31.207 20 296
F. Massa 8th 1.17.995 22 12th 1.29.719 15 294

Weather
First session: air 18/20 °C, track 20/24 °C. Cloudy, light drops of rain
Second session: air 16/18 °C, track 21/22 °C. Cloudy, intermittent rain