Button heads FP2 for McLaren in Spain

By on Friday, May 11, 2012

Jenson Button

McLaren’s Jenson Button has ended the second practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya fastest, ahead of reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Local hero Fernando Alonso, who topped FP1, failed to finish within the top 10 in the second practice session.

With the softer tyre expected to make an appearance on the cars in the session, the first true indications of tyre degradation were expected to unfold throughout the 90 minute session.

The Toro Rosso’s of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo set the initial pace as the session got underway, with the Frenchman and Aussie sharing the top sport early on. The two were eventually joined by the Sauber duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in swapping fastest times, until big names such as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel emerged as fastest.

With times quickly beginning to tumble, 6-time Spanish Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher flew to the top for Mercedes with a 01:24.859. This time was then beaten when the inevitable switch to the softer Pirelli tyres began, as Jean-Eric Vergne became the first driver to complete the switch shooting straight to the top with a 01:24.733. The French rookie’s reign atop the timing sheets was short lived, as Sebastian Vettel also opted for the softer Pirelli tyre and annihilated the Frenchman’s time by just over one whole second with a 01:23.563.

After a disappointing end to the first practice session for HRT, the misery continued into the second session as Narain Karthikeyan’s car was plagued by electrical issues which prevented the Indian driver from taking to the track.

Whilst the HRT mechanics busied themselves in fixing this issue, Jenson Button went fastest with a 01:23.399 whereas Mark Webber had an excursion through the deep gravel trap at turn 4. As the Red Bull driver returned to the track, he brought with him high amounts of gravel, which remained on the track for remainder of the session.

HRT’s day was set to get a lot worse, as Narain Karthikeyan prepared to leave the garage. With the car seemingly fixed and ready to take to the track, the team were proved wrong as Karthikeyan ground to a halt after completing only several corners upon exiting the pit-lane. This eventuality forced the marshals to retrieve the stricken car, and left Karthikeyan without a time set all day.

As the session progressed into its latter stages, the majority of the field began completing race simulations reminiscent of what is usually seen at a test day. Heikki Kovalainen had a trip through the gravel at turn 7, whereas Lewis Hamilton found it difficult to negotiate turn 13. Bruno Senna was also found pointing in the wrong direction at turn 12, after the Brazilian carried too much speed through the corner.

Lotus showed good pace, with many hinting at a possible victory for the Enstone based team this weekend. With Lotus believed to be running high fuel loads throughout the session, their times were not necessarily relative to their overall pace.

The teams and drivers will now mull over their various data of the track, and return tomorrow morning for the final practice session ahead of this weekends Spanish Grand Prix.

P    Name           Best        Gap Sec 1 Sec 2 Sec 3 Laps
1  3 J. BUTTON      1:23.399         23.0  31.5  28.7   38
2  1 S. VETTEL      1:23.563  0.164  23.2  31.4  28.8   38
3  8 N. ROSBERG     1:23.771  0.372  23.2  31.4  29.0   41
4  4 L. HAMILTON    1:23.909  0.510  23.2  31.6  29.0   32
5  9 K. RAIKKONEN   1:23.918  0.519  23.1  31.6  29.1   32
6 10 R. GROSJEAN    1:23.964  0.565  23.0  31.5  29.3   37
7  2 M. WEBBER      1:24.065  0.666  23.2  31.6  29.1   34
8  7 M. SCHUMACHER  1:24.080  0.681  23.3  31.8  28.9   36
9 14 K. KOBAYASHI   1:24.214  0.815  23.2  31.6  29.2   41
10 12 N. HULKENBERG  1:24.365  0.966  23.3  31.8  29.1   22
11  6 F. MASSA       1:24.418  1.019  23.3  31.9  29.0   35
12 15 S. PEREZ       1:24.422  1.023  23.2  31.7  29.3   32
13 18 P. MALDONADO   1:24.468  1.069  23.3  31.9  29.1   40
14  5 F. ALONSO      1:24.600  1.201  23.3  31.8  29.2   33
15 11 P. DI RESTA    1:24.688  1.289  23.3  31.9  29.4   30
16 17 J. VERGNE      1:24.733  1.334  23.4  32.0  29.1   34
17 16 D. RICCIARDO   1:24.769  1.370  23.3  32.1  29.2   37
18 19 B. SENNA       1:25.047  1.648  23.4  32.1  29.3   42
19 20 H. KOVALAINEN  1:26.296  2.897  23.7  32.4  29.7   36
20 21 V. PETROV      1:26.740  3.341  23.7  32.8  29.9   35
21 24 T. GLOCK       1:27.314  3.915  24.0  32.9  30.2   27
22 25 C. PIC         1:27.664  4.265  24.2  33.0  30.2   30
23 22 P. DE LA ROSA  1:28.235  4.836  24.5  33.3  30.3   26
24 23 N. KARTHIKEYAN                        36.5  31.7    2        


If you liked this post then share it with your friends on social media websites. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest F1 news.