A wet track limited running at Spa but Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi pressed on regardless and was rewarded by finishing the session on top.
Kobayashi’s time of 2m11.389s, was half a second quicker than that of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado with Daniel Riccardo and Jean-Eric Vergne behind them for Toro Rosso. Mark Webber was fifth for Red Bull Racing, Sergio Pérez sixth in the second Sauber. Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes, ahead of Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas and the top ten was completed by Sebastian Vettel ninth for Red Bull Racing and Michael Schumacher tenth in the second Mercedes.
Despite forecasts for a dry weekend, heavy rain swept across the circuit ten minutes before the session began. Rain continued to fall at regular intervals, preventing anyone considering a move to slick tyres.
In the first half of the session, after installation laps had been completely, Kobayashi was the only driver prepared to go out on a long run. His early benchmark time of 2m17.705s led the way for much of the session. Only in the latter 45 minutes did other cars come out to challenge that. Both Toro Rosso drivers briefly held the lead, as did the Williams of Maldonado, before Kobayashi reasserted himself.
Not only was the Japanese driver quickest, but as the session drew to a close he had, with 20 laps, also completed the highest mileage, albeit closely followed by most of the field. The only cars not to get into double figures were the McLarens, Ferraris and Lotuses. While no-one visited the barriers, Felipe Massa pulled off the circuit at the end of the session with smoke pouring from the rear of his Ferrari.