• Belgian Grand Prix - FP1

Kobayashi tops wet FP1

ESPN Staff
August 31, 2012
Kamui Kobayashi was the fastest man in the wet conditions in FP1 © Getty Images

Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time of a very wet first free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps.

With heavy rain preventing much running early in the session, a brief respite saw conditions improve enough for a number of drivers to complete runs on the extreme wet tyre. Kobayashi was the busiest of all - completing 20 laps - and that saw him top the timesheets by over half a second with a 2:11.389.

Though times are largely irrelevant due to the conditions, Pastor Maldonado was second quickest with a 2:11.941, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso. Jean-Eric Vergne made it two Toro Rossos in the top four, with Mark Webber fifth fastest and Sergio Perez sixth. The risks of running at Spa-Francorchamps in such wet conditions became apparent as several drivers - including Michael Schumacher - held big moments coming through Eau Rouge. A decade ago such incidents would have resulted in a hefty repair bill, but the asphalt run-off areas offered an escape route.

Felipe Massa only managed to complete two laps before his Ferrari engine gave up on the run up to the final chicane at the end of the session. He was bottom of the timesheets but Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean above him were the other drivers not to set comparative times.

The weather will not have helped Lotus, which will have wanted dry running to further analyse the double DRS system it plans to race this weekend. Both drivers completed nine laps each in an attempt to gather as much data as possible.

Aside from Massa, Alonso and Lewis Hamilton carried out the least running, completing four and five laps respectively due to the conditions. Despite a number of drivers running off track - especially after misjudging the braking point at Les Combes - there we no major incidents during the session, with the field spread suggesting many were focused on analysing new parts rather than setting times.