The 2 Friday sessions ended with Jenson Button topping the 1st one and Michael Schumacher the 2nd. Although the first one largely took place in dry conditions, the 2nd practice sessions was wet / damp for the majority of the time. Button set a fastest lap time of 01:27.560 in the first session, which was about 8 tenths slower than the fastest lap time set during the 1st Friday practice session of 2011 (01:26.831 by Mark Webber). Michael’s fastest lap time (in a drying track and on medium tyres) in the 2nd session was 01:29.183, i.e. 3.3 seconds slower than the fastest lap time of the 2011 2nd Friday session (01:25.854 by Jenson Button). Friday running times are notorious difficult to read, and it’s easy to understand that no meaningful conclusions can be drawn. Brundle has said that Mercedes looked mighty fast in the 2nd session, but as you can see from our comparison with the 2011 times, it’s way too early to get excited – the times will tumble a lot during the weekend, although the first indications are that the 2012 cars are slower than the 2011 cars. We will wait to see if this trend continues in Free Practice 3 and qualifying.
We remind you that the best lap time during the 2011 Saturday free practice was 01:24.507 (by Sebastian Vettel), whereas pole was 01:23.529 (by Sebastian Vettel again). We therefore expect the laptime to slowly tumble towards low 24s or even high 23s.