Abu Dhabi GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

Red Sails At Sunset

Sebastian Vettel, Abu Dhabi GP 2013

Sebastian Vettel, Abu Dhabi GP 2013 

 © Active Pictures

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber sailed into the sunset as the posted lap times a full third of a second quicker than their nearest competition in Free Practice 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) rounded out the top five.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius.)

Raikkonen got things rolling in his Lotus.

FP2 started with the sun still in the sky and ended with the cars running under the lights with the official sunset time coming 41 minutes into the session.

Max Chilton clocked the first lap time of FP2 – 1:54.938 – in his Marussia, but moments later Raikkonen sliced over 10 seconds off of that as he posted a 1:44.360.

By the 12 minute mark, Sergio Perez had his McLaren at the top of the timing screens with a 1:43.564 and his teammate Jenson Button was second with a time of 1:43.616. There was no lolling about in the pits going on like in FP1 and only four of the 22 drivers were not out on the track.

As in FP1, the drivers were using Pirelli's medium compound slick with the white sidewalls.

15 minutes into the session, Sebastian Vettel clocked a 1:43.062 in his Red Bull, and Lewis Hamilton turned a 1:43.355 in his Mercedes. Then Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg beat that with a 1:43.101 to claim second place.

Romain Grosjean climbed up to third after turning a 1:43.164 in his Lotus, and Mark Webber was now fourth with a 1:43.237 in his Red Bull.

21 minutes into the session, Webber banged in a 1:43.021 to make it a Red Bull one/two. But that didn't last long as Raikkonen lowered the boom to 1:41.888, a fill 1.133 seconds quicker than Webber. But Raikkonen was on Pirelli's soft compound tires.

26 minutes into the session, Raikkonen had another run on softs and lowered his time to 1:41.726.

27 minutes into the session, other drivers were now trying the softs including Nico Hulkenberg who jumped to second with a 1:42.418 in his Sauber, and Rosberg who was told he should go for a 1.5 second gain. Rosberg improved from 1:43.101 to a 1:41.758 to take second place.

34 minutes into the session, Hamilton took top honors with a time of 1:41.690.

37 minutes into the session, Webber, on softs snatched the lead with a time of 1:41.556.

42 minutes into the session, Vettel finally made a run of the softs set a 1:41.434. The sun had just set, but because the flood lights were already switched on there was no real transition from daylight to night trackside. Vettel lowered his time to 1:41.335 and Webber his to 1:41.490.

Midway through FP2 the top six where: Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen Rosberg and Perez.

47 minutes into the session, Chilton spun his Marussia at Turn 2. Grosjean meanwhile went off the track at Turn 20 and radioed that something had broken in his Lotus. Both drivers continued.

Most of the teams had done their qualifying simulations right around sunset to match the conditions the cars would face in qualifying proper on Saturday evening.

And now many of the teams began doing long runs to simulate the race conditions of Sunday evening. With 23 minutes remaining, only Grosjean, whose car had broken down, was in the pits. But the Lotus mechanics repaired his car and he was back in action before the end of the session.

But with less than 10 minutes to go, Grosjean was back in the pits for more repairs. Everybody else was pounding around on the track.

Adrian Sutil had been a busy boy in the Force India, going off at Turns 6, 21 and 20.

The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Perez, Button, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa (Ferrari.)

Follow grandprixdotcom on Twitter