United States GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
Texas Bulls and Arrows
Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber turned the fastest times in Free Practice 2 for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Silver Arrows Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth quickest.
After the cool, foggy and delayed FP1, it was clear and sunny as FP2 began. And it was much warmer. The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius.)
Heikki Kovalainen was first out in the Lotus. And 4 minutes into the session he set the first time: a 1:40.335. A minute later Jenson Button topped that with a 1:39.786 in his McLaren.
7 minutes into the session, Romain Grosjean (Lotus) beat that with a 1:39.159. Then Sebastian Vettel turned up the wick in his Red Bull to clock a 1:38.352 while Button moved into second with a 1:38.929. Vettel, meanwhile, lowered his time to a 1:38.211.
As in FP1, the drivers were using Pirelli's hard compound slicks.
15 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) was now third, despite complaining about too much understeer, after setting a 1:38.818, and Mark Webber (Red Bull) was third with a 1:38.384.
18 minutes into the session, Webber grabbed second with a 1:38.660. Lewis Hamilton was now third with a 1:38.728 in his Mercedes and Rosberg fourth at 1:38.793.
26 minutes into the session, the initial flurry of runs was over and two-thirds of the field was in the garages.
At the 30 minute mark the top six were: Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg, Button and Fernando Alonso who had topped FP1 in his Ferrari.
But it did not stay that way for long as Nico Hulkenberg moved into second after setting a 1:38.533. And then his Sauber teammate Esteban Gutierrez grabbed second.
By now the drivers were out on the medium compound Pirellis and the order changed rapidly. 35 minutes into the session, Webber was on top with a 1:37.420 and Rosberg second with a 1:37.785.
40 minutes into the session, Kovalainen, on mediums, posted a 1:38.073 to move into third spot ahead of Hamilton, Vettel and Gutierrez.
At the midpoint of FP2 the top six remained the same.
Shortly thereafter Hamilton turned a 1:37.958, so he, Rosberg and Webber were the only three drivers to break below the 1:38 level.
With 38 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel slammed in a 1:37.305 to claim the number one spot.
With 35 minutes remaining in the session, most drivers had done their fast laps on the new medium tires. Now the focus switched to longer runs on tires that were wearing out. The top six were now: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Kovalainen and Gutierrez.
With 25 minutes remaining in the session, the long runs on heavy fuel loads continued.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, the Red Bull engineers radioed Vettel and told him to ease off on his pace to conserve his tires.
With 16 minutes remaining in the session, Daniel Ricciardo, who had been complaining about the handling of his Toro Rosso, was the only driver not out on the circuit.
With 10 minutes remaining in the session, the long runs on the medium and hard tires continued. All 22 drivers were on track.
With 8 minutes remaining in the session, Max Chilton spun and stopped his Marussia at Turn 20 and climbed out. The brakes had failed. The Marussia crew watched anxiously on TV as the corner workers took far too long as they attempted to crane the car out of the way. Every other driver was still turning laps.
The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Button and Alonso.