Turkish GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
Button Heads Opening Day in Turkey
McLaren Mercedes continued to set the pace on the first day of practice for the Turkish Grand Prix, with Jenson Button setting the quickest lap of the day in 1m28.280s. That was just a tenth up on championship leader Mark Webber's Red Bull (1:28.387).
It was not a straightforward afternoon for the Red Bull men, however, with Webber stopping a few minutes before the end of the session with smoke emanating from the back of his RB6 and a suspected hydraulic issue. At the same time, team mate Sebastian Vettel (1:28.590), who ended up third quickest, was reporting water pressure concerns over the radio, so there may be reliability concerns for the constructors championship leaders overnight.
Lewis Hamilton's McLaren (1:28.672) was actually slightly quicker in the morning session and ended up fourth quickest overall, five hundredths quicker than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
The Mercedes drivers were once again closely matched with Nico Rosberg stopping the clocks in 1:28.914 and Michael Schumacher in 1:28.974. The team is back to the long wheelbase chassis it introduced in Spain although it still has no black-and-white answer as to why Rosberg struggled with it in Barcelona.
Mercedes continues to develop its F-duct and Ross Brawn explained: "While we say on the one hand that we don't want the expense of testing, it is very difficult to develop in-season. Hat's off to McLaren for getting their system working over the winter but it's a massive challenge to develop it during the racing programme and, hopefully, every race is a little step forward."
Renault continues to close the gap to the front-running teams - with Monaco generally accepted as a Kubica performance as much as improved car performance. The Pole lapped in 1:29.225, with team mate Vitaly Petrov joining him in a top 10 that was completed by Felipe Massa's Ferrari (1:29.620).
Further down, Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus was comfortably quickest of the new teams with a lap in 1:31.610, from Lucas di Grassi, the young Brazilian happy to have an estimated extra 15 points of downforce from his revised Virgin Racing chassis.