Michael Schumacher brought out the red flag to end a wet day’s running in Germany, the seven times world champion losing control of his Mercedes towards the end of FP2 and crashing his car.
It was another frustrating day for the teams, like Friday at Silverstone, with weather again the dominant story.
Meanwhile Schumacher’s team mate Nico Rosberg joins Romain Grosjean in taking a five place grid penalty due to a forced gearbox change. Rosberg set the second fastest time in FP2 today before the suspected problem was confirmed.
A bashful Schumacher said afterwards, “The way I ended the second session was obviously not part of the plan and I’m sorry that my mistake has given my guys even more work to do this evening,” he said. “I simply slid off track because I lost a little concentration: we were talking on the radio and I was altering some settings at the same time. But that’s all part of the game.
“Overall, the session went ok, even though we didn’t do too much running in the first session because the conditions were a bit too inconsistent. I think that qualifying will probably be wet tomorrow, so today’s weather was useful in that respect. Now we need to do more work on the computer to tease out the insights we weren’t able to get from our track running.”
Lotus have a new device on the rear wing which has tongues wagging; an apparent double DRS system, albeit not one that replicates the drag reduction feature on the Mercedes front wing. My BBC colleague, technical expert Gary Anderson, has speculated that the air intake for the system is on the airbox and that it is designed to function as an additional drag reduction system on the rear wing when the DRS is open.
With races coming up at fast tracks like Spa, Monza and Suzuka, it could be a useful gain for Lotus in qualifying, where they need a boost to be able to get on terms with front running rivals.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Free Practice 2, (Wet)
1. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m27.476 14
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.564s + 0.088 24
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m27.902s + 0.426 24
4. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m28.402s + 0.926 26
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m28.420s + 0.944 20
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m28.495s + 1.019 22
7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m28.513s + 1.037 23
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m28.516s + 1.040 16
9. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m28.877s + 1.401 21
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m29.327s + 1.851 22
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m29.364s + 1.888 26
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m29.719s + 2.243 15
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m29.785s + 2.309 24
14. Charles Pic Marussia 1m30.090s + 2.614 19
15. Timo Glock Marussia 1m30.220s + 2.744 16
16. Bruno Senna Williams 1m30.291s + 2.815 22
17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m30.331s + 2.855 26
18. Paul di Resta Force India 1m30.437s + 2.961 14
19. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m30.617s + 3.141 16
20. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.207s + 3.731 20
21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m32.241s + 4.765 22
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m32.349s + 4.873 17
23. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.777s + 5.301 18
24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m42.566s + 15.090 8