Jenson Button has enjoyed a clean sweep in Friday practice, once again claiming top honours on the timesheets after going quickest in the second free practice session for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The McLaren driver was also quickest in this morning’s opening practice session.
The former World Champion used his softer Pirelli tyres to post a rapid 1:31.901 to outpace Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, while the Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber rounded out the top-four.
As expected, the Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull driver traded blows in the first half of the session as the team continued to run on the harder Pirelli tyres, before the grid switched to the softer rubber as the Suzuka circuit continued to offer more grip.
But before the teams switched over, the field was reduced to 22 cars with the elimination of both Williams cars, the team continuing its wretched season as Pastor Maldonado pulled off with another technical gremlin, while the under-pressure Rubens Barrichello binned his FW33 in the barriers.
Jarno Trulli was forced to quit the 90-minute session early when technical issues hit his Lotus, and the likes of Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna and Michael Schumacher all had wild off-track moments, but were able to keep going.
As the soft-tyre running wore on, it was becoming apparent that the Ferraris and McLarens were rapid on shorter runs, while the Red Bulls were showing excellent pace on longer stints.
Felipe Massa finished the session fifth-fastest and half-a-second adrift of Button’s outright pace, while Michael Schumacher was sixth-fastest, impressively lapping his Mercedes within a second of Button’s best lap-time.
The top-ten was completed by Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Vitaly Petrov and Sébastien Buemi.
2011 Japanese Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:31.901||32|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.174||33|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.194||35|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.246||28|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.547||34|
|6.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.809||26|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.081||27|
|8.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.344||26|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 1.545||36|
|10.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 1.780||33|
|11.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 1.804||25|
|12.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.889||36|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.492||35|
|14.||Bruno Senna||Renault R31||+ 2.656||27|
|15.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.700||33|
|16.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 4.137||33|
|17.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 4.324||35|
|18.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 5.222||14|
|19.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.539||30|
|20.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 6.192||30|
|21.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 6.486||16|
|22.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.862||36|
|23.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 7.899||24|
|24.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 10.579||4|
[Image via FOM and Sutton Images]
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