Jenson Button's time from the opening 20 minutes of F1 action at Hockenheim remained the best of the day as heavy rain continued to blight the start of the German Grand Prix weekend.

The Briton could only manage eighth place in the afternoon session, which was book-ended by persistent downpours that prevented anyone from getting to within eleven seconds of his pace. Pastor Maldonado emerged as the fastest man after lunch, timing his run in the Williams to coincide with the point at which the track began to exhibit its driest line but, jut as teams - including Williams and Red Bull - had actually wheeled out slicks to fit for a final burst, the precipitation returned with a vengeance, prompting a rapid rethink.

Behind Maldonado, Nico Rosberg claimed second spot, just 0.088secs shy of the Venezuelan, with Sebastian Vettel third, but fully four tenths adrift. Sergio Perez - who intends to seek a showdown with Maldonado over their Silverstone clash - and Romain Grosjean, still running without the latest Lotus upgrades, rounded out the top five, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who repeated his sixth place from FP1 despite a quadruple rotation over the kerbs midway through the 90 minutes.

Among the more serious casualties of the session were Daniel Ricciardo and Michael Schumacher, who both went off late on, although the Australian will have sated the wrath of Toro Rosso by posting the seventh-fastest lap before becoming beached at Sachskurve. Schumacher, however, did more damage to his Mercedes, spearing into the wall entering the stadium section after appearing to accelerate with his left rear still on the kerbs. The German, however, had earlier reported a ride hide issue and that could have played a part.

Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top ten, the latter persisting with evaluation of what appeared to be an evolution of Lotus' DRS system, with Jean-Eric Vergne and Felipe Massa next up. Marussia enjoyed a boost with Charles Pic and Timo Glock in 14th and 15th respectively, but no-one will expect a repeat on Saturday, even if the rain continues as is forecast.