With Mercedes’ ‘Super DRS’ now having been deemed legal by the FIA Stewards, Michael Schumacher raced to the top of the timesheets in today’s second free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix. The seven-time World Champion beat the morning’s quicker driver, Lewis Hamilton, to top spot by 0.172 seconds in a dry session.
With this morning’s running hit by intermittent rain, the teams took advantage of the afternoon’s drier – albeit chilly – conditions to make up for the lack of suitable running conditions earlier on. However, rain remains a distinct possibility for the rest of the weekend.
Drivers struggled to generate adequate heat in their Pirelli tyres, and the lack of grip – coupled with the circuit’s bumpy nature – saw almost the entire field suffer major lock-ups over the course of the 90-minute session. Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Jenson Button each had major moments at the circuit’s famous hairpin, which resulted in badly flat-spotted Pirelli tyres for the trio.
There were also a few spinners: Paul di Resta and Heikki Kovalainen both had spins at the last corner, while Kamui Kobayashi had a spin on the track’s twistier infield.
The major moment of the session came for Timo Glock, who suffered a high-speed slide into the Turn 1 tyre barriers when his front wing came off his Marussia. The German emerged from the accident unscathed, although he complained of minor pain in his hand as a result of the impact.
Up at the front Hamilton finished the session second-quickest, while Sebastian Vettel overcame some DRS issues in the morning to go third-quickest, with his Red Bull RB8 equipped with the team’s ‘launch spec’ exhaust configuration.
Team-mate Mark Webber finished fourth-fastest running the team’s newer-spec exhaust layout, just under three-tenths slower than Vettel, while Nico Rosberg was fifth-fastest and six-tenths off Schumacher’s best lap-time.
Despite troubles with understeer and locking brakes, Jenson Button was sixth-quickest in the second McLaren, while the top-ten was completed by Kamui Kobayashi, di Resta, Nico Hülkenberg and Fernando Alonso.
Alonso’s Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was again well off the pace in the F2012, with the Brazilian almost a second off the Spaniard’s pace.
The Lotus F1 pairing of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean also appeared to struggle in the cooler conditions, with the pair ending the session 13th and 15th quickest respectively.
2012 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:35.973||32|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:36.145||+ 0.172||29|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:36.160||+ 0.187||27|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:36.433||+ 0.460||24|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:36.617||+ 0.644||31|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:36.711||+ 0.738||28|
|7.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:36.956||+ 0.983||28|
|8.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:36.966||+ 0.993||31|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:37.191||+ 1.218||31|
|10.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:37.316||+ 1.343||32|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:37.417||+ 1.444||22|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:37.616||+ 1.643||33|
|13.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:37.836||+ 1.863||30|
|14.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:37.930||+ 1.957||32|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:37.972||+ 1.999||26|
|16.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:38.176||+ 2.203||25|
|17.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:38.293||+ 2.320||31|
|18.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:38.783||+ 2.810||37|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:38.990||+ 3.017||36|
|20.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:39.346||+ 3.373||20|
|21.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:39.651||+ 3.678||15|
|22.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:40.343||+ 4.370||25|
|23.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:40.753||+ 4.780||30|
|24.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:41.125||+ 5.152||26|