Practice 2: Webber owns day one at Sepang
8 April, 2011
Apr.8 (PVM) The first day of track action at Sepang was more akin to a test day and at the end of the afternoon in Malaysia it was Red Bull’s Mark Webber who topped the timing sheets.
Webber set his time of 1 min 26.876 shortly before the hour mark, displacing team mate Sebastian Vettel from top spot. Thereafter the Red Bull pair, along with most of their rivals, focussed on heavy fuel load laps and evaluating the effects on the Pirelli tyres.
The session ended Webber tops and Vettel fourth fastest, perhaps signalling a welcome turnaround for the Australian who was fractionally faster in the afternoon session than his morning’s best..
Splitting the Red Bull’s were the McLaren pair with Jenson Button 0.005 seconds faster than team mate Lewis Hamilton. Button looking more at ease in the MP4-26 than during the first session when he was plagued with lack of rear grip.
Less than a quarter second separated the top four!
A full second down on the top quartet was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP, the seven times world champion apparently more in the groove in Malaysia than two weeks earlier in Australia. His team mate Nico Rosberg was seventh on the timing sheets.
Splitting the Silver Arrows in sixth, was Felipe Massa in the Ferrari, with his team mate Fernando Alonso ninth best. The Maranello boys not tempted to explore the pace of the 150 Italia, rather keeping to a stringent test programme on the first day atSepang.
Ferrari wrote on Twitter: “This afternoon’s programme will be a classical one, i.e. focused on finding the best set-up and evaluating Pirelli tyres.”
They later concluded, “The degradation with both tyres is huge: the pit-stop crews will have a very busy Sunday ahead of them…”
After their tribulations in the first free practice Renault drivers were last out on track for the second session as the team did all they could to ensure that the cars would stand up to the stresses of Sepang.
Forty minutes into the session and the Renault were still in the garage, “No running for LRGP at the moment as we try to fully understand our suspension issues from this morning. Best to be on the safe side.”
Eventually Heidfeld managed 16 laps to claim eighth fastest time, with Petrov 13th on the timng sheets with 17 laps credited.
Jaime Alguersuari rounded out the top ten in the Toro Rosso STR6.
Despite their efforts Virgin Racing could not repair Jerome D’Ambrosio’s VR02 in time for him to do any running in the session, after his car was severely damaged when it suffered a front end failure.
On track Timo Glock will have brought some cheer to the team after finishing 19th quickest and ahead of the two Lotus cars of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.
HRT, who are still very much having teething problems with their F111 despite it already being the second round of the world championship – what are FIA thinking!
However it was not all doom and gloom as Narain Karthikeyan set a time within the required 107% of the fastest time of the session (Webber) that would be required in qualifying, prompting optimism from the Indian F1 returnee.
He tweeted: “Feels good to get some running. Lot of work to be done, but feel positive for qualifying! Glad to be within the 107%.”
Friday, 8 April – Free Practice 2 Results
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1:36.876||24|
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||1:37.090||0.214||30|
|5||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:38.088||1.212||26|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:38.565||1.689||25|
|10||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:38.846||1.970||31|
|16||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:39.625||2.749||31|
|17||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:39.809||2.933||28|
|18||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:40.115||3.239||31|
|19||24||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:40.866||3.990||24|
|24||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||No time||0|
|16||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.625||2.749||31|
|17||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.809||2.933||28|
|24||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||No time||0|