Practice 2: Vettel fastest as McLaren chase
15 April, 2011
Apr.15 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel owned day one in Shanghai after finishing top of the timing sheets at the end of the second free practice of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, but both McLaren’s were not far off the world champion’s best time.
Shortly after the hour mark, in the session, Vettel on Pirelli soft set the quickest time of the day. The world champion has had a hassle free opening day and just seems to be on another level – even at this early stage of the weekend – which prompts the question: who can stop Vettel this weekend?
Earlier the McLaren pair were also out on softs and thrashing the MP4-26 around with Lewis Hamilton ending second quickest and only 0.166 seconds adrift of Vettel’s best and Jenson Button next best less than a quarter second down on the top time. McLaren again the best of the rest.
Biggest surprise of the session was the new found pace of the Mercedes MGP-W02 with Nico Rosberg ending fourth fastest and Michael Schumacher fifth on the timing screens – both within striking distance of the top pace on the day.
Felipe Massa was sixth fastest as Ferrari tried a host of updates on the opening day with no apparent inroad into the gap with the pace setter as Massa ended sixth fastest but almost 0.819 seconds down on Vettel.
His team mate Fernando Alonso had hydraulics issues with his Ferrari 150 Italia and ended the session down in fourteenth, the Spaniard venting his frustration with a silly chop on Narain Karthikeyan’s slow HRT late on in the session.
After sitting out the first practice for Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil was back in the cockpit of the Force India VJM04 and ended the session seventh best while his luckless team mate Paul di Resta missed the entire session due to a fuel pressure problem.
After his sensational comeback in Australia, Nick Heidfeld has shown strong pace in Shanghai but did himself no favours with a couple of excursions on the day. Again he crashed out in the final session of the day, a mistake similar to the one he made in the morning session. Nevertheless the German ended the day eighth fastest ahead of team mate Vitaly Petrov who was ninth best.
Tenth was Mark Webber who finished the day 1.639 seconds down on his pace setting Red Bull team mate but there were no apparent problems with the Australian during the session.
Kamui Kobayashi was best of the Sauber pair, ending the session 11th with Sergio Perez 17th.
Desperate to finish a Grand Prix for the first time in his career is rookie Pastor Maldonado who showed his intent by racking up 37 laps in the Williams, more than any other driver in the session. The Venezuelan ended 12 fastest with his team mate Rubens Barrichello 16th.
Sebastien Buemi was fastest of the feuding Toro Rosso drivers with the 13th fastest time of the day compared to Jaime Alguersuari 15th on the timing sheets.
Lotus pair Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were 18th and 19th respectively with Perez a mere half second faster.
Another big surprise was Narain Karthikeyan setting the 20th best time with 25 laps to his credit in the HRT. Team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi managed only three laps ending 21st, however the Spanish team will be buoyed by the fact that they were better than Virgin Racing whose drivers Jerome D’Ambrosio and Timo Glock were 22nd and 23rd fastest.
Friday, 15 April – Practice 2 Results
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:37.688||34|
|4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:37.943||0.255||34|
|5||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:38.105||0.417||29|
|7||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:38.735||1.047||35|
|10||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:39.327||1.639||33|
|13||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:39.771||2.083||18|
|15||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:39.828||2.140||25|
|22||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||1:44.008||6.320||35|
|23||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:44.747||7.059||12|
|24||Paul di Resta||Force India||No time||0|