Felipe Massa has claimed Friday honours with the fastest overall time in practice for the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Brazilian narrowly topped the timesheets in today’s second practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit, fending off Lotus rival Kimi Räikkönen by 0.152 seconds.
With the morning’s practice running dominated by the Mercedes pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the appearance of the Soft-compound Pirelli tyre brought about a change at the top of the timesheets.
After more initial running on the Medium compound tyres, the field steadily switched over to the softer rubber as track conditions and temperatures improved. Mark Webber was the early pacesetter in his Red Bull Racing entry, before he was usurped by FP1 fast man Nico Rosberg.
Massa’s benchmark time came with forty minutes still left on the clock. The Brazilian posted a rapid 1:35.340 in a qualifying-style run, and the later efforts of Räikkönen and Massa’s teammate, Fernando Alonso, fell short of beating him for top spot. Rosberg and Webber were demoted to fourth and fifth on the timesheets, respectively.
Jenson Button was again sixth-quickest as he and McLaren continued to work through the upgrade package they had brought to the circuit after two troublesome opening races in Australia and Malaysia. But the Briton didn’t have a completely encouraging session, suffering a left-front tyre delamination and an underbody fire late in the session to leave him a second adrift of Massa on the stopwatch.
Button’s former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton was seventh-quickest, ahead of the Force India pairing of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, while Sebastian Vettel was tenth-quickest in the second Red Bull, ruining a hot lap with a wild slide at the final corner.
After spearing into the gravel in the opening practice session, Sergio Pérez was at it again in the afternoon session. The Mexican had a wild spin into the Turn 8 gravel trap en route to eleventh overall at the end of the session.
Max Chilton was another driver to have dramas, although his were more of a mechanical nature when his Marussia ground to a halt after just five laps. He finished at the bottom of the timesheets.
The main talking point for the entire field will lie with the durability – or lack of it – of the Soft-compound Pirelli tyres, which were graining heavily after just a handful of laps. Several drivers voiced their concerns at the sharp performance drop-off they experienced on some runs on the tyres, which will leave them and their engineers with plenty of work to do overnight to try and optimise their car set-ups for tomorrow’s all-important qualifying session.
2013 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:35.340||32|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:35.492||+ 0.152||32|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:35.755||+ 0.415||30|
|4.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:35.819||+ 0.479||35|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:36.092||+ 0.752||31|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:36.432||+ 1.092||29|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:36.496||+ 1.156||39|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:36.514||+ 1.174||32|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:36.595||+ 1.255||33|
|10.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:36.791||+ 1.451||27|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:36.940||+ 1.600||16|
|12.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:36.963||+ 1.623||31|
|13.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:37.103||+ 1.763||22|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:37.206||+ 1.866||39|
|15.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:38.127||+ 2.787||34|
|16.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:38.185||+ 2.845||18|
|17.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.211||+ 2.871||32|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:38.276||+ 2.936||34|
|19.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:38.725||+ 3.385||29|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:39.271||+ 3.931||21|
|21.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:39.814||+ 4.474||27|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:43.227||+ 7.887||5|