Sebastian Vettel has set the pace in the final practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, ahead of this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session.
In another closely-fought session where just 1.2 seconds covered fourteen drivers, the timesheets features a few unusual names at the sharp end with some teams and drivers clearly electing to save tyre compounds ahead of qualifying and the race.
Sauber’s Sergio Pérez led the way early on with an effort on Pirelli’s harder tyre, before several competitors eventually elected for a few qualifying simulations on the softer option compound. The Mexican was usurped by both Nico Rosberg and Jean-Éric Vergne on soft tyres, before Pérez made the switch and moved back to the top of the order.
The final two minutes of the session saw more changes, with Pérez beaten by both Mark Webber and Kamui Kobayashi, before Pastor Maldonado posted a rapid 1:23.336 time in his Williams.
The Venezuelan’s top spot would last just a few seconds, with Vettel coming around on his final tour to beat his time by 0.168 seconds, despite being held up at the clumsy RACC Chicane.
That left Maldonado, Kobayashi, Webber and Pérez completing the top five places, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Vergne, and fastest McLaren driver Jenson Button. Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton ended up an unrepresentative 16th-fastest, with his hot lap ruined by traffic.
There was some drama in the Lotus F1 team with Romain Grosjean being forced to park his E20 challenger on the circuit when it was hit with a fuel pressure problem.
Timo Glock was also forced to park his Marussia in the closing minutes of the session when his left-rear wheel appeared to loosen on his car.
2012 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:23.168||13|
|2.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:23.336||+ 0.168||19|
|3.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:23.350||+ 0.182||19|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:23.578||+ 0.410||16|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:23.742||+ 0.574||22|
|6.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:23.807||+ 0.639||15|
|7.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:23.833||+ 0.665||14|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:23.909||+ 0.741||13|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:23.969||+ 0.768||16|
|10.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:24.070||+ 0.902||23|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:24.179||+ 1.011||16|
|12.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:24.323||+ 1.155||17|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:24.331||+ 1.163||15|
|14.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:24.409||+ 1.241||18|
|15.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:24.599||+ 1.431||15|
|16.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:24.778||+ 1.610||15|
|17.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:24.825||+ 1.657||17|
|18.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:25.911||+ 2.743||20|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:26.587||+ 3.419||20|
|20.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:27.469||+ 4.301||18|
|21.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:27.689||+ 4.521||16|
|22.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:28.207||+ 5.039||24|
|23.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:28.373||+ 5.205||13|
|24.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||no time||2|