Indian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

Closing In

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel 

 © Active Pictures

Sebastian Vettel needs to finish fifth or better in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix in order to clinch his fourth world championship. The Red Bull driver closed in on the crown by being quickest in Free Practice 2 just like he was fastest in FP1. Fernando Alonso, who has a mathematical chance of snatching the title, was fifth best and 0.708 of second slower than Vettel.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius.)

First out in FP2: Max Chilton in his Marussia. He set a time of 1:32.542 but that did not last long as Kimi Raikkonen started to stretch his legs in the Lotus and clocked a 1:28.419.

Alonso was in action as well after the Ferrari team repaired the gearbox problem he had had in FP1.

8 minutes into the session, Romain Grosjean topped the times with a 1:27.531 in his Lotus. Lewis Hamilton was second after turning a 1:28.416 in his Mercedes.

9 minutes into the session, Vettel, who had been quickest in FP1 with a 1:26.683, topped FP2 with a 1:27.360. Nico Rosberg was set to beat that time but he ran wide in Turns 15 and 16 in his Mercedes.

13 minutes into the session, Raikkonen pitted after spinning in Turn 3.

14 minutes into the session, Vettel improved to a 1:27.059 in his Red Bull teammate. Sergio Perez grabbed second place with a 1:27.244 in his McLaren.

16 minutes into the session, Mark Webber became the number one after posting a 1:27.011 in his Red Bull. Like the other drivers, he was using Pirelli's medium compound tires. Then Rosberg went 0.001 of a second quicker.

20 minutes into the session, the initial flurry of laps were over and only Pastor Maldonado (Williams) and Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) were on the track.

25 minutes into the session, Raikkonen became the first driver to try out the soft compound tire with the yellow sidewalls. Grosjean also tried the medium slicks and clocked a 1:26.955. But Vettel blitzed that with a 1:25.722, which was a full 1.233 seconds faster.

30 minutes into the session, the top six were: Vettel, Grosjean, Rosberg, Webber, Perez and Felipe Massa (Ferrari.)

32 minutes into the session, Webber went fastest in Sector 1 but ended up second to Vettel with a time of 1:26.011. Raikkonen was now third with a 1:26.632. But Rosberg beat that with a 1:26.582.

Halfway through FP2 the top six were: Vettel, Webber, Grosjean, Rosberg, Massa and Raikkonen. Another lull ensued with just four or five drivers on the track. One of them was Alonso who moved his Ferrari into fourth place.

50 minutes into the session, several drivers including Webber and Mercedes teammates Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton (who moved up to fourth) set off on long runs on the soft Pirelli slicks.

With 30 minutes remaining the top six were: Vettel, Webber, Grosjean, Hamilton, Alonso and Rosberg.

The left front medium tire was blistering after four or five laps. And the tire was degrading in general after four or five laps as well.

With 27 minutes remaining, several drivers including the Red Bull duo switched back to the medium tires and began doing long runs on that compound which was now certainly the tire they would be using for most of the race.

With 22 minutes remaining, Maldonado parked his car on the track just after he left the pits following a tire change. The right front wheel nut had come off.

With 18 minutes remaining, Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) and Maldonado were the only two drivers not out turning laps.

With 13 minutes remaining, Ricciardo and Maldonado were still the only two drivers not out turning laps as the long run work on both the soft and medium tires continued.

With 10 minutes remaining, the top 10 were: Vettel, Webber, Grosjean, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Raikkonen, Perez and Jenson Button (McLaren.)

And at the end of FP2 the top 10 remained the same.

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