Jenson Button has staked his claim for pole position by going quickest in the final practice session for the Korean Grand Prix. Button’s cause was helped by his two main rivals for top honours, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, both being badly held up on their final flying laps.
Hamilton was blocked in no uncertain terms by Michael Schumacher, while a frustrated Vettel had his hot-lap effort ruined by Jaime Alguersuari in the sister Toro Rosso. Neither man was particularly happy at having their laps screwed by slower cars…
Having switched to the team’s spare chassis overnight, Button came out strong and moved to the top of the timesheets with just over 20 minutes of the one-hour session to go, posting a rapid 1:38.005.
Team-mate Hamilton quickly lowered the benchmark into the low-1m37s range before Button fired back, posting a 1:36.910 on his final flying lap to beat Hamilton by 0.289 seconds.
Mark Webber was a distant third-fastest, almost a second adrift of the McLarens’ ultimate pace, followed by the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in fourth and fifth.
Sixth-fastest went to the wayward Schumacher, who suffered several brake lock-ups during the session, while the top-ten was completed by Vitaly Petrov, Adrian Sutil, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
Aside from the bad track manners of Schumacher and Alguersuari, the session was generally incident-free, with a few drivers exploring the circuit’s limits in their one and only opportunity to get some dry-weather practice mileage after yesterday’s heavy rain.
Birthday boy Bruno Senna provided the only major moment of note, spinning his Renault at Turn 13 and damaging his front wing when he attempted to turn his car back in the right direction.
2011 Korean Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:36.910||18|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.289||18|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.813||23|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 1.119||21|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 1.524||18|
|6.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 2.649||23|
|7.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 2.702||20|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.750||22|
|9.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 2.785||22|
|10.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 2.833||25|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.937||22|
|12.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.941||20|
|13.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 3.054||21|
|14.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 3.095||17|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 3.120||18|
|16.||Bruno Senna||Renault R31||+ 3.541||19|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.619||20|
|18.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.801||22|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 4.999||18|
|20.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 5.035||13|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 6.365||19|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 7.467||16|
|23.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 7.511||22|
|24.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 8.233||21|
[Images via FOM]