Brazilian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
First blood to Red Bull in Brazil
The four main championship contenders have finished the opening day of Brazilian GP practice in the top four positions.
Sebastian Vettel (1:11.968), whose task is simple -- he must win -- topped the time sheets with the usual tiny margin separating him from Red Bull Racing team mate Mark Webber (1:12.072). Fernando Alonso (1:12.328), who stopped early in the morning session with what has now been confirmed as an engine failure, was closest challenger to the Red Bulls with a replacement motor fitted for the afternoon session.
Ferrari has said that the unit which expired in the morning session will not cause the team any significant problems as it had all but reached the end of its life expectancy. The drivers are permitted to use eight engines during the season, in whatever rotation, and only suffer a grid penalty if they are forced to install a ninth.
Lewis Hamilton (1:12.656) set the fourth quickest time as the McLaren, once more, does not appear to have the ultimate pace to be challenging Red Bull or Ferrari for a slot on the front row of the grid.
Felipe Massa (1:12.677) was fifth quickest with the second Ferrari but, like his team mate in the morning, stopped before the end of the session with a car problem, this one believed to be gearbox related.
Robert Kubica (1:12.882) was sixth quickest for Renault, the team's F-duct once again doing a fine job as Kubica set the fastest sector three time, which includes the long drag out of the Juncao corner, up the hill and across the start/finish line. That indicates that Kubica could be an early race handful for any of the championship contenders he may qualify close to.
Reigning champion Jenson Button (1:13.206) has reiterated in Brazil that he will not be giving up the defence of his title until it is mathematically impossible, but had to content himself with seventh quickest time on the opening day.
Nick Heidfeld's Sauber (1:13.222) was eighth fastest, ahead of the Mercedes pair, Nico Rosberg (1:13.333) and Michael Schumacher (1:13.346), who were split by just a hundredth of a second.