Michael Schumacher has headed an all-German 1-2 in today’s second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, although again the rain played its part in shaking up the order on the timesheets – the first session’s pace-setters, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, we mired in the lower half of the field.
Half an hour before proceedings got underway at 4:30pm local time, a heavy cloudburst deposited its contents on the Albert Park circuit and nearly flooded the entire venue.
The rain left almost as quickly a it arrived, but the cooler temperatures and heavy cloud cover meant that it took longer than usual for the track to dry properly. Certain section of the layout had large puddles of standing water, and there was a significant risk of aquaplaning in the treacherous conditions.
Most teams therefore opted to keep running to a minimum, but that didn’t stop some of the field from having a few moments over the course of the 90-minute session. Daniel Ricciardo was among the first, suffering a lurid high-speed spin through the Turn 11/12 sweeps. The likes of Michael Schumacher, Heikki Kovalainen, Kamui Kobayashi and Mark Webber all engaged in a bit of grass-mowing as they outbraked themselves into Turn 1.
Undoubtedly the wildest moment came right at the end of the session, when Kamui Kobayashi lost control of his Sauber on the final corner, and it was some miracle that he didn’t land up making contact with the barriers.
Lap-times finally began to drop as the conditions improved enough in the final twenty minutes of play for teams to switch to slick tyres. Hülkenberg bolted some soft-compound rubber onto his Force India, and he set about trying to depose Schumacher from top spot, along with team-mate Paul di Resta.
Ultimately it was Schumacher who prevailed in the closing stages, posting his best lap on his final tour to claim top spot by just over one-tenth of a second.
Third-fastest was Sergio Pérez ins the Sauber, with he and team-mate Kobayashi sandwiching Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in fourth. There were suggestions floating about that the Swiss team was running its C31s rather low on fuel, which may have gone some way to explaining the car’s strong showing this session…
The res of the top-ten places reflected how unusual a session it was, with Felipe Massa heading Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
F1 returnee Kimi Räikkönen had another tough session and clocked up scarcely any mileage after the team lost more time in the garage trying to resolve this steering concern the Finnish driver was reporting.
Down at HRT, it was not surprisingly a case of more problems for the recently restructured team. Narain Karthikeyan once again lost some track mileage when he had to stop his F112 again with another technical gremlin, while Pedro de la Rosa registered his very first lap in the new car, albeit solely a slow installation tour.
2012 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:29.183||16|
|2||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:29.292||+ 0.109||19|
|3||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:30.199||+ 1.016||23|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:30.341||+ 1.158||13|
|5||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:30.709||+ 1.526||14|
|6||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:31.466||+ 2.283||13|
|7||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:31.505||+ 2.322||14|
|8||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:31.932||+ 2.749||16|
|9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:32.184||+ 3.001||17|
|10.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:32.194||+ 3.011||19|
|11.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:32.296||+ 3.113||20|
|12.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:32.632||+ 3.449||17|
|13.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:32.767||+ 3.584||15|
|14.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:32.822||+ 3.639||11|
|15.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:33.039||+ 3.856||18|
|16.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:33.252||+ 4.069||11|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:34.108||+ 4.925||21|
|18.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:34.275||+ 5.095||7|
|19.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:34.312||+ 5.129||17|
|20.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:34.485||+ 5.302||29|
|21.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:34.604||+ 5.421||31|
|22.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:34.770||+ 5.587||13|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:42.627||+ 13.444||16|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||no time||1|
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