Jenson Button maintained a McLaren on top of the timesheets at the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, marginally heading off Red Bull’s Mark Webber for the quickest time overall in the second free practice session, despite some reliability concerns for both Red Bull cars in the closing minutes of the 90-minute session.
McLaren looked set to maintain its initial superiority at the Istanbul Park circuit, with Button and Lewis Hamilton heading the timesheets after their opening times runs.
Midway through the session, the timesheets were doing their best Noah’s Ark impression, with the two McLarens leading from both Red Bulls, followed by both Mercedes GPs, Renaults, Saubers and Force India cars in the top-12.
As the track surface improved, so the timesheet order finally started to adjust, with Hamilton pulling out a 1:28.672 on a soft-tyre run, which was quickly eclipsed by Vettel’s 1:28.590.
Button would run faster just five minutes later with a 1:28.280, a time that would remain unchallenged for the rest of the day’s proceedings.
Mark Webber – now running without the team’s first iteration of the ‘F-duct’ which he had trialled in the morning’s proceedings – managed to lap quicker than his team-mate to take second place, but his afternoon came to a worrying end with five minutes’ running to go when smoke began to emerge from the back of his Renault-powered RB6 chassis. At the same time as the Australian parked his car, team-mate Vettel was making worrying noises about his climbing water pressure, giving the team a few headaches as they try to cure the reliability gremlins that have chosen to rear their heads this weekend.
Hamilton remained fourth-quickest at the close of the session, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso hauling his F10 to fifth overall after a slow start to the session.
Mercedes GP finished sixth and seventh overall, with Nico Rosberg finally out-pacing his team-mate in a practice session for the first time in a little while. The Silver Arrows were trailed by both Renaults and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.
Turn 8 – the scene of Adrian Sutil’s big shunt in the first session – still seemed to be catching a few drivers out, one of them being three-time Turkish GP winner Massa, who snapped into a wild, slow slide that turned his soft tyres into 50-cent pieces.
Vitantonio Liuzzi also attempted to mirror his team-mate Sutil’s efforts in the morning with his own tail-happy moment at the daunting corner, but somehow managed to find the talent and reflexes to keep his mechanics from having to face a double repair job.
2010 Turkish Grand Prix Practice 2 Session Times:
[Original image via GP Update]