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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
2011 Chinese Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:37.688||34|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.166||22|
|3.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.247||31|
|4.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.255||34|
|5.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.417||29|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.819||36|
|7.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.047||35|
|8.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 1.117||26|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 1.171||31|
|10.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 1.639||33|
|11.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 1.850||33|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 1.979||37|
|13.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.083||18|
|14.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 2.091||17|
|15.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.140||25|
|16.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.237||32|
|17.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.265||30|
|18.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 2.788||30|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.794||32|
|20.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.214||25|
|21.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.162||3|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 6.320||35|
|23.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 7.059||12|
|24.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||no time||0|