Sebastian Vettel returned to the top of the timesheets as Friday practice came to a close for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. The German led a Red Bull Racing 1-2 at the end of the 90-minute session, edging out teammate Mark Webber by one-tenth of a second.
After teams’ practice programs were thrown into disarray with the first practice session restricted to just over 45 minutes’ running, everyone set out to run as much mileage as possible in the afternoon session, which was held in clear conditions.
The initial Hard-compound running saw Vettel set the pace – lapping quicker than the time Fernando Alonso had managed when he went fastest in FP1 – before the switch to the Medium Pirelli tyres arrived.
The newly-crowned four-time World Champion made sure he was quickest on this rubber too, while Webber moved to just 0.115 seconds of his teammate’s fastest time.
The Mercedes pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the ‘best of the rest’ charge, while Lotus substitute Heikki Kovalainen was an impressive fifth-fastest in his second practice session for the team.
Kovalainen and teammate Romain Grosjean sandwiched the Sauber pairing of Esteban Gutiérrez and Nico Hülkenberg, who continued their impressive pace with the sixth and seventh-fastest times in the session. FP1 pacesetters Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten.
Conversely, the Williams’ of Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado couldn’t come close to the lap times they had posted in the morning’s session, plummeting to sixteenth and eighteenth on the timesheets.
Perhaps more worrying was the total absence of speed and aero balance in the two Marussias, which were miles off the pace. Max Chilton was the quicker of the pairing, but his session ended late in the day when he suffered a brake disc failure and spun into the Turn 20 gravel. Jules Bianchi – who missed the morning session after having to hand over the controls of his car to Rodolfo Gonzalez – was over ten seconds a lap adrift.
2013 United States Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:37.305||35|
|2.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:37.420||+ 0.115||37|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:37.785||+ 0.480||38|
|4.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:38.958||+ 0.653||38|
|5.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:38.073||+ 0.768||41|
|6.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.229||+ 0.924||40|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.254||+ 0.949||40|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:38.255||+ 0.950||33|
|9.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:38.269||+ 0.964||34|
|10.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:38.461||+ 1.156||33|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:38.719||+ 1.414||31|
|12.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:38.938||+ 1.633||37|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:38.941||+ 1.636||31|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:39.246||+ 1.941||28|
|15.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:39.410||+ 2.105||34|
|16.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:39.512||+ 2.207||37|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:39.579||+ 2.274||36|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:39.784||+ 2.479||33|
|19.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:40.376||+ 3.071||39|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:40.563||+ 3.258||35|
|21.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:46.226||+ 8.921||31|
|22.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:47.009||+ 9.704||20|