Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have cast an ominous shadow over the reast of the 24-car grid, utterly crushing them with a dominating 1-2 in the second practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.
The duo evidently might have had some Red Bull with their cereal – or in the fuel tanks of their Renault-powered cars, with Vettel finishing a second quicker than third-fastest Jenson Button with a commanding series of hot laps on the super-soft Bridgestone tyres in the latter half of the 90-minute session.
In fact, Vettel headed the timesheets as early as 25 minutes into the session, briefly being deposed by Button before resuming his authority with a succession of quick laps that would have other drivers reeling.
Vettel’s margin over the rest of the field was over a second, and the gap was only brought down by the sister Red Bull of Mark Webber, who eventually managed to close to within seven-tenths of the German – but by today’s standards, that’s still an eternity.
It seemed that Fernando Alonso – fourth-quickest at the end of the day – might be the only driver who could have threatened Vettel’s reign at the top of the timesheets. The double World Champion had a go at a hot-lap with twenty minutes running to go, posting a faster first split and matching Vettel in the second sector, only to have a wild moment at Turn 17 which led to him disappearing up an escape road at the next corner. He attempted to reverse back onto the field, only to stall his Ferrari and have to abandon any further running.
The only other driver to suffer a major gaffe was Adrian Sutil, who hopped the ‘Singapore Sling’ chicane kerbing a little too violently, taking to the air and landing heavily. which was enough to shatter his left-front suspension. What would later raise the ire of the stewards was his attempt to limp his stricken car back to the pits, an act that earned him a $10,000 fine for his troubles.
At the top of the order, Lewis Hamilton rounded out the day with the fifth-quickest time, half a second up on Rubens Barrichello in the Williams, who was himself marginally quicker than his compatriot Felipe Massa.
Mercedes GP ended a productive opening day in Singapore with both drivers in the top-ten: Nico Rosberg finishing eighth-quickest and Michael Schumacher in tenth, with the pair sandwiching Robert Kubica in the Renault.
Further behind, Kamui Kobayashi marginally outpaced his new Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld, with the pair finishing up twelfth and thirteenth-quickest.
At the bottom of the order, HRT finished slowest of all and over a second clear of the next-slowest runners, but Christian Klien might find himself well-pleased to get within a second of team-mate Bruno Senna on his return to the F1 grid.
2010 Singapore GP Practice 2 Session Times: