Japanese GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

The Land of the Rising Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, Japanese GP 2013

Sebastian Vettel, Japanese GP 2013 

 © Active Pictures

While the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were quickest in Free Practice 1, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber rose to the challenge and topped the times in Free Practice 2. Vettel turned a lap time of 1:33.852 to beat Webber's time of 1:34.020.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius.)

Pastor Maldonado got things underway as he did a practice start at pit exit in his Williams. The team was still investigating why his left rear wheel came off during FP1.

Jules Bianchi had crashed his Marussia in FP1 and the crew could not repair it in time for FP2 so he watched from the pits.

As in FP1, Maldonado set the first time in FP2: 1:36.722. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) sliced ahead with a 1:36.625, but then Daniel Ricciardo beat that with a 1:35.920 in his Toro Rosso.

Also as in FP1, everybody was running Pirelli's hard compound slick.

8 minutes into the session, Sebastian Vettel topped the times with a 1:34.746 in his Red Bull.

10 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, beat that with a 1:34.690. Moments later his teammates Lewis Hamilton moved into second with a 1:34.726.

11 minutes into the session, Maldonado planted his Williams gently into the barriers at Turn 9. And then Vettel retook first with a 1:34.487.

16 minutes into the session, Mark Webber posted his first time – a 1:34.693 – which put the Red Bull driver third.

17 minutes into the session, Sergio Perez slid wide and crashed his McLaren backwards into the barriers at Turn 13. The car then flicked and slammed sideways into the tire-walls. He radioed in that he was okay.

20 minutes into the session, everybody was in the pits except the unlucky Perez and Maldonado.

The action resumed and Hulkenberg slid off the track. He said that the car was very floaty, very light.

30 minutes into the session, the top six were: Vettel, Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton, Jenson Button (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari.)

Valtteri Bottas (Williams) was the first driver to start out on the medium compound Pirelli. Webber and Rosberg then went for a run on the mediums. So did Fernando Alonso, who clipped a curb and spun at Turn 9.

Webber topped the times with a 1:34.020 and Rosberg clocked a 1:34.114.

35 minutes into the session, now Vettel was on the mediums and he stopped the clocks at 1:33.852. Hamilton, on mediums, could not do better than a 1:34.442 which put him fourth.

40 minutes into the session, the runs on the medium tires continued.

At the halfway point the top six were: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Hamilton.

Having set their quick times, the teams and drivers now concentrated on long runs with both the medium and hard compound Pirellis to see how the tires degraded over a number of laps and with heavy fuel loads.

54 minutes into the session, Raikkonen spun his Lotus into the sand trap at Turn 7. He got stuck and the car had to be hoisted out.

At the one hour mark the top six remained: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Grosjean and Hamilton.

With 28 minutes remaining in the session, everybody who still had a car running except for Charles Pic was out on the track. Pic had slid off the track earlier in his Marussia. The race pace runs continued.

With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg complained about tire vibrations and his engineer told him to pit and the team would fit the other tires on his car. He was soon back on the track and again Pic remained the only driver not to venture out.

The race prep work ground on as the session wound down. It was busy out there. Paul di Resta had a quick spin in his Force India at the chicane. Webber got upset at di Resta a couple of laps later when they ended up needing the same bit of road.

With 12 minutes remaining in the session, Adrian Sutil (Force India) was the only one not running.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Sutil was the only one not running.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo was the only one not running.

The top 10 in FP2 were: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Button and Alonso.


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