Low-fuel runs by Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have been enough to propel them to the top of the timesheets in the second practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, with the German driver just edging out the Spaniard on Ferrari’s home turf.
However, it still looks like McLaren is the pacesetting outfit this weekend, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button lapping some three-quarters of a second faster than anyone else – that was, until Red Bull and Ferrari elected to send their drivers out for some low-fuel sprints in the final 30 minutes of the session.
Felipe Massa initially headed the running order, but his time was quickly overcome by Vettel, only for Alonso to jump to the top of the order. Vettel jumped back to the top of the timesheets again, with a 1:22.839 proving unbeatable.
Felipe Massa looked a possibility to topple Vettel in his final hot lap, posting purple sector times (fastest overall) until he put a wheel into the dirt at Parabolica, slid across the gravel and somehow managed to keep his Ferrari out of the wall.
For McLaren, Button wound up quicker than Hamilton, but the two drivers opted for different set-up strategies: Button elected to run his MP4-25 with the ‘F-duct’, while Hamilton drove without it to finish just six-hundredths slower than his team-mate.
The two Toro Rosso drivers also elected to remove their new ‘F-ducts’ after just a single session running the devices.
Mark Webber finished sixth-quickest overall, but wound up slower than both McLarens after being denied the chance to improve his time when ordered to park his Red Bull when his Renault engine developed a loss of water pressure with 18 minutes’ running to go.
Rubens Barrichello enjoyed a more productive second practice session after having to sit on the sidelines in the first session with a loss of drive. The Brazilian managed to lap his Williams Cosworth seventh-quickest, with his team-mate Nico Hülkenberg sandwiching the Renault of Robert Kubica. Nico Rosberg rounded out the top ten.
Adrian Sutil finished up eleventh-quickest in his first chance in the Force India cockpit this weekend, just ahead of his team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi. Contrary to popular speculation, neither Force India has looked particularly pace-setting, with many expecting the pair to feature prominently on this high-speed circuit.
Of the three rookie teams, Lotus redressed the balance and wound up quickest, with Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen posting almost 80 laps between them en route to 19th and 20th-quickest overall.
But poor Bruno Senna endured another horror session in the Hispania after enduring yet more technical gremlins this session. After suffering brake leaks in the morning session, his car stopped at the exit of the pit lane with a loss of fuel pressure. He made another unsuccessful attempt to get going again midway through the session, and finally made it onto the circuit with ten minutes to go, only to grind to a halt on his out-lap.
The sister HRT of Sakon Yamamoto completed just five laps, while Jaime Alguersuari was also forced to park his Toro Rosso with half an hour to run.
2010 Italian GP Practice 2 Session Times: