Friday, 8 June 2012

Hamilton leads second practice

McLaren star Hamilton, a two-time winner around Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, finished quickest at the end of both sessions.

The 27-year-old, remarkably not one of the sextet to stand on top of the podium this year, was rarely troubled in either 90-minute run.
Hamilton posted a time of one minute 15.564 seconds in FP1, improving by 0.305secs in FP2, although he had championship leader Fernando Alonso hot on his heels in his Ferrari, with the Spaniard off the pace by only 0.054s come the conclusion.
For McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, who triumphed in spectacular circumstances a year ago, it was a day to forget as he spent most of the three practice hours in the garage.
Button managed just 12 laps in the morning session, only two of which were timed, due to an oil leak from the gearbox that saw the McLaren mechanics changing the seal twice as the initial fix did not work.
Despite the problems, it did not stop BBC technical analyst Gary Anderson laying into McLaren.
Anderson said: "This is a top team with a world champion in it challenging for the world championship. They're changing the gearbox, it should be 30 minutes. It's not good enough.
"During that time Caterham rebuilt the car of Heikki Kovalainen, who hit the wall.
"McLaren discovered they hadn't fixed an oil leak, and they have had to change the gearbox, but that should be a half-hour job.
"If you're trying to win the championship, you can't afford to make mistakes like this."
Button eventually made it out on track in FP2 with just under 19 minutes remaining, managing 13 timed laps and finishing ninth on the timesheet, just over half a second behind Hamilton.
Behind Alonso, who survived a spin across the grass early in FP2, was Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, followed by reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Force India's Paul di Resta produced a superb lap to finish fifth, just 0.285s behind Hamilton, with Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher within half a second in sixth and seventh.
The field was so closely bunched up behind that the top 13 drivers were within 0.728s of Hamilton, but there was no Lotus in that group as Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen were 14th and 15th, a second off the pace.
The track lends itself to incidents, with 14 deployments of the safety car over the past 10 years, so it came as no real surprise when there was a heavy shunt in each session that initially accounted for Kovalainen and then Bruno Senna in his Williams.
In FP1 Kovalainen did nothing more than put a wheel on a rumble strip into turn nine, the conclusion of a fast right-left kink in the track sited on the Ile Notre Dame in the middle of the St Lawrence Seaway.
But that was enough to slam the right side of the Finn's car into a wall, the impact spraying debris all over the track, resulting in a 12-minute delay.
In FP2 Senna lost the back end of his car going through the chicane at turns 13 and 14.
The 'Wall of Champions' that has accounted for many a great name over the years took another heavy hit that required 14 minutes to clear.
Defending McLaren against Anderson's criticisms, managing director Jonathan Neale said: "He's entitled to his opinion, but it helps if you are stood closer to the problem because it certainly wasn't trivial.
"In FP1 Jenson had an oil leak. We did a great job in repairing the seal, but when we fired the car up we discovered a secondary problem which hadn't revealed itself before that time.
"Unfortunately we had to change the gearbox and the whole rear end of Jenson's car.
"So disappointing, but I have to say hats off to the mechanics because on Lewis's side, the moment his car left the garage all of them then came across to help Jenson."

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