Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber headed the timesheets with another Red Bull formation 1-2 in the second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, leaving themselves with a hefty margin of almost eight-tenths of a second to Renault’s Robert Kubica, who was third-quickest.
The battle for top honours was restricted to the Red Bull drivers alone, with Vettel hitting the top of the timing screens after 20 minutes of the session had elapsed, and pretty much remaining there for the remaining 70 minutes of the session, only briefly pipped by Mark Webber when the Australian switched a soft-tyre run slightly before Vettel did.
The opening session crash for Lewis Hamilton significantly impacted on his ability to have any meaningful running in the second session, with the 2008 World Champion losing much of the session while mechanics worked feverishly to repair his damaged McLaren. With just eight minutes of the session remaining, the Briton finally took to the track, with a best time over two seconds adrift.
By contrast, team-mate Jenson Button enjoyed a more productive second session, completing almost thirty laps with a best time that put the defending champion into sixth-quickest at the end of the session.
Ferrari improved its pace after a rather lacklustre morning session, with Fernando Alonso just heading team-mate Felipe Massa for fourth-quickest overall, although the Ferrari duo is still some way off the pace of the leading Red Bull pair.
Another team improving its pace is Renault, which finished up with both drivers inside the top ten, with Vitaly Petrov finishing up seventh-quickest and just half a second slower than team-mate Kubica, who was third-quickest once again.
Michael Schumacher made it back-to-back sessions being quicker than Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg, with the 41-year-old finishing up eighth-quickest and relieved to avoid a repeat of Lewis Hamilton’s barrier-bending shunt at the Degner Curves after he also ran wide into the gravel at high speed.
Completing the top ten pacesetters were Adrian Sutil and Nico Hülkenberg, who finished quicker than his Williams team-mate Rubens Barrichello after the Brazilian veteran was forced to return to the pits with a suspected engine malady.
2010 Japanese GP Practice 2 Session Times:
[Original images via GP Update]