Jenson Button leads McLaren one-two before rain hits practice for German Grand Prix

 

Wretched weather again dogged practice which offered few clues as to the potential victor of this weekend's German Grand Prix.
.

The second 90-minute session at Hockenheim especially fell victim to the conditions, leaving Jenson Button out in front as he was quickest in first practice that stayed predominantly dry.

Button led a McLaren one-two, at least offering the team a degree of hope ahead of the weekend given the car has on board a raft of new updates designed to close the gap to their rivals.

Some are more visual than others, in particular new side pods to assist with aerodynamics, as McLaren seek a boost ahead of the summer break following next weekend's race in Hungary.

Determined to put behind them the shocking disappointment of the British Grand Prix in which Hamilton and Button were eighth and 10th respectively, the latter started the day off on the right foot with a time of one minute 16.595secs, with the former 0.498secs adrift.

By comparison, given the rain that dominated FP2, the best time posted by Williams' Pastor Maldonado was nearly 11 seconds down, with a lap of 1:27.476.

Heavy rain just before the start of the session kept everybody in the garage for the opening 25 minutes, other than an installation lap from Bruno Senna in his Williams.

That was simply a shakedown to assess the car given the minor damage sustained at the end of FP1 when reserve Valtteri Bottas spun into the gravel and clipped a tyre wall in Senna's car.

It was only when the rain finally stopped and the track began to dry a little did the times fall, with Venezuelan Maldonado the driver at the head of affair when the heavens opened again 27 minutes from the end.

It did ease late on, but not enough for the track to offer up hope of anyone dislodging Maldonado, who was fastest by just 0.088secs from Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

As for Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher, he brought out the red flag with four minutes remaining - which ended the session - when he ploughed into a tyre barrier in the stadium complex.

It at least allowed the fans in that part of the circuit a close-up of the seven-times champion who obliged with an acknowledging - if not slightly embarrassing - wave.

Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel was within half a second of Maldonado, whilst Sauber's Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean in his Lotus were just under a second down in fourth and fifth.

The rest of the field was spread out behind, with Button eighth and 1.040secs off the pace, followed by Red Bull's Mark Webber, winner last time out at Silverstone.

Paul di Resta, forced to sit out for FP1 for Jules Bianchi, was down in 18th, managing just 14 laps, leaving him with one hour ahead of qualifying tomorrow to fine tune the car.

Hamilton was down in 19th, three seconds off the pace, followed by championship leader in Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with Schumacher 23rd, the trio all failing to post a decent time when the conditions were more favourable.

PA

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas