Australian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
The Mercedes-Benz works cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the best in Friday's Free Practice 2 for the Australian Grand Prix. The driving duo posted times of 1:29.625 and 1:29782 respectively. That was a full half second quicker than Fernando Alonso who ended up in third place in his Ferrari.
The Red Bulls are getting more reliable, and they are getting quicker, and thus Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo ended up fourth and sixth as they bracketed Jenson Button's McLaren.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Centigrade.)
Adrian Sutil (Sauber) and Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) were the first drivers out on the track.
Jean-Eric Vergne turned a 1:35.127 in his Sauber to set an early benchmark lap time. That didn't stand long as Nico Hulkenberg set a 1:33.094 in his Force India.
7 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg topped that with a 1:32.013 in his Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull was running much better than it had in FP1, and he was lapping rather than waiting in the garage. He was soon third quickest with a lap of 1:32.710 while Valtteri Bottas (Williams) held down second place with a 1:32.655.
14 minutes into the session, Jenson Button (McLaren) popped into second place with a 1:32.138. The Fernando Alonso beat that with a 1:32.046 in his Ferrari.
Missing from the action, as in FP1, were the Lotus cars of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean who still have not ventured out on the track at the 20 minute mark.
23 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari had a problem at pit exit and had to be pushed back to the garage.
27 minutes into the session, Daniel Ricciardo took top honors with a time of 1:30.597 in his Red Bull, but Rosberg answered that with a 1:29.782.
A few minutes later Grosjean finally turned a flying lap and set a time of 1:38.597 while teammate Maldonado remained in the garage.
34 minutes into the session, Vettel, on the soft Pirelli tires, turned a 1:30.381 to move into second place.
Things were not looking good for Caterham. Kamui Kobayashi was wearing street clothes and had not been out on track, and Ericsson had done but one lap.
Of the drivers that were able to get out there, many of them were now trying out the soft compound slicks including Jenson Button who moved his McLaren into third place with a 1:30.510.
43 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso, on softs, set a 1:30.132 to claim second in his Ferrari.
Midway through FP2 the top six were: Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Button, Ricciardo and Raikkonen.
With 40 minutes remaining in the session, Lewis Hamilton topped the charts after turning a 1:29.625 with his Mercedes shod with Pirelli's soft tires.
Now, as most of the drivers completed their laps on the soft tires, the teams switched to longer runs to work on fuel consumption and tire wear.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel and Esteban nearly collided as the former overtook the latter.
With the exception of Lotus and Caterham, just about all the cars turned an impressive number of laps in FP2. Most drivers did over 30 laps.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Nico Hulkenberg spun and stranded his Force India into the gravel at Turn 10. And Grosjean slid off at Turn 6 after clipping the wall on the entry into the corner.
The top six at the end of FP2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Button and Ricciardo.