Having ended the opening practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix comfortably quickest, Sebastian Vettel repeated the dose in Friday’s second free practice session, although this time his main rivals, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of McLaren, were able to run much closer to his pace.

Sebastian Vettel Vettel’s best effort of 1:37.688 – over a second faster than his best lap in the morning session – was closely matched by Hamilton and Button, while Nico Rosberg showed improved form in his Mercedes GP to lap fractionally slower than Button en route to the fourth-fastest time. Team-mate Michael Schumacher followed suit and finished fifth-quickest.

By contrast, other teams and drivers had troubled outings, with Fernando Alonso the feature, losing mileage with a hydraulics problem during the session.

Confined to their pit garages for the second session was Force India’s Paul di Resta and HRT’s Vitantonio Liuzzi, who were stuck in pit lane with a fuel pressure problem and a rear-end rebuild respectively. Di Resta would not get any track time this session, while Liuzzi managed a single flying lap at the end of the session, which was enough to go quicker than either Virgin Racing car managed in the entire session.

Timo Glock In fact, it seems that Virgin Racing’s all-CFD car could come unglued at Shanghai, with its MVR-02s looking slower than HRT’s little-run F111 challenger in the two sessions this weekend. The red and black car’s lack of pace has prompted a very worried Timo Glock to suggest that they will struggle to lap within 107% of the fastest Q1 session time in tomorrow’s qualifying.

To the on-track action, however, and the hazy conditions witnessed in the first practice session improved somewhat for the afternoon’s running, and ambient temperatures reached peaks of 27°C (81°F), while the track surface hit 33°C (91°F).

The second 90-minute session of the day saw a few off-track moments, with Jaime Alguersuari opening the tally with a spin at Turn 8. Nick Heidfeld hit the wall again

Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld was finding the Armco barriers holding a positively magnetic attraction today, and he buried the nose of his Renault in the wall once again, this time at Turn 2. After repairs for another new nose and more suspension rebuilds, the German rejoined the action and finished the session eighth-fastest.

Heidfeld’s team-mate Vitaly Petrov had a new-miss with Felipe Massa when he came across the Brazilian dawdling on the racing line at the Turn 14 hairpin.

Petrov was annoyed to find Massa in his way Several drivers – including Mark Webber (who was some way off Vettel’s pace in this session), Kamui Kobayashi and Jérôme d’Ambrosio all had trips over the exit kerbs at the final corner, and HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan had a spin a Turn 1 with two minutes of the session remaining.

[Images via Formula1.com, GP Update, LAT]

2011 Chinese Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 1:37.688 34
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.166 22
3. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.247 31
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.255 34
5. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.417 29
6. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.819 36
7. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.047 35
8. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 1.117 26
9. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 1.171 31
10. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 1.639 33
11. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.850 33
12. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.979 37
13. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.083 18
14. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 2.091 17
15. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.140 25
16. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.237 32
17. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.265 30
18. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 2.788 30
19. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 3.794 32
20. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.214 25
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.162 3
22. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 6.320 35
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 7.059 12
24. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 no time 0
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.