Bahrain GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

Desert Ice

Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain GP 2013

Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain GP 2013 

 © Active Pictures

The Iceman Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time in Free Practice 2 at Bahrain's desert track.

Max Chilton got things underway in Free Practice 2 as he headed out onto the track in his Marussia.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was degrees 87.8 Fahrenheit (degrees 31 Celsius), and the track temperature was degrees 104 Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius.) It had rained briefly during the midday break, but not enough to even get the track wet.

Six minutes in to the 90-minute session, Chilton clocked the fastest time at 1:38.700. But the McLaren duo of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button soon eclipsed that with times of 1:35.866 and 1:36.164 respectively.

Nine minutes in to the session, Mark Webber cut a lap of 1:34.664 in his Red Bull, which was .966 of a second quicker than Perez's time.

Twelve minutes in to the session, Fernando Alonso went quickest with a 1:34.317 in his Ferrari. Felipe Massa, who had been quickest in FP1 in his Ferrari, moved into third with a 1:34.776. Webber's teammate Sebastian Vettel was fourth with a 1:35.031.

Seventeen minutes in to the session, Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne had the medium compound Pirelli tires fitted to their cars. But only Vergne headed out onto the track. Ricciardo joined him four minutes later. They went eighth and 11th quickest respectively.

Twenty-five minutes in to the session, Webber tried out the medium compound slicks. And he went P1 with a 1:34.184 after setting the best times in all three sectors of the lap.

Other drivers including Alonso, Vettel and Nico Rosberg had the mediums fitted, and Vettel turned the second quickest time at 1:34.282.

At the 30 minute mark the top six were: Webber, Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg and his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Massa may have been fourth, but he said his rear tires were not maintaining full traction for the full lap.

Thirty-five minutes in to the session, Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) nearly clipped Charles Pic as he tried to pass the Caterham. The Sauber suffered a punctured left front tire.

As more drivers started to use the mediums, the top six order started to get shuffled as Paul di Resta (Force India) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) joined the group midway through the session

Forty-six minutes in to the session, Kimi Raikkonen posted the fastest time with a 1:34.154.

With 40 minutes to go, several drivers including Vettel and Alonso began long runs. Lap times fell into the 1:40s

At the one hour mark, the top six were: Raikkonen, Webber, Vettel, Alonso, di Resta and Massa.

Many of the drivers were doing long runs – on either the white-sidewall medium or the orange-sidewall hard tires – as FP2 entered its final 30 minutes. It got very busy out on the track.

While the track in China was "front limited," meaning the front-end grip of the car was a priority and the weakest point of the cars' set-ups, Bahrain is a "rear limited" track, which meant that the rear tire grip was the priority.

Laps were the order of the day as the session wound down. With 15 minutes to go, only Webber had turned less than 20 laps – but he was out on the track and adding laps to his total – and most driver had completed an average of 25 laps.

The Lotus team told Raikkonen they wanted to see how many laps the medium tires would last, and so he was to stay out on the track and put more laps on them. He was now lapping in the 1:41 range as the session headed into its final 10 minutes.

Eight minutes to go: Only Hamilton was in the pits at this stage.

The long runs continued and the drivers racked up the laps. But they were not as fast as they had been earlier in the session on fresh tires. And so the top six remained Raikkonen, Webber, Vettel, Alonso, di Resta and Massa. Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top 10.


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