Sebastian Vettel has led a Red Bull 1-2 to close out Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas

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:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:37.305   35
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:37.420 + 0.115 37
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:37.785 + 0.480 38
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:38.958 + 0.653 38
5. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:38.073 + 0.768 41
6. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:38.229 + 0.924 40
7. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:38.254 + 0.949 40
8. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:38.255 + 0.950 33
9. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:38.269 + 0.964 34
10. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:38.461 + 1.156 33
11. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:38.719 + 1.414 31
12. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:38.938 + 1.633 37
13. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:38.941 + 1.636 31
14. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:39.246 + 1.941 28
15. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:39.410 + 2.105 34
16. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:39.512 + 2.207 37
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:39.579 + 2.274 36
18. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:39.784 + 2.479 33
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:40.376 + 3.071 39
20. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:40.563 + 3.258 35
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:46.226 + 8.921 31
22. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:47.009 + 9.704 20

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.