Vettel asserts his authority in second practice

By on Friday, June 22, 2012

Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel has ended the second practice session fastest for this weekends European Grand Prix, just ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. As the track temperature gradually rose, many drivers opted for longer race simulations in the afternoon session.

The session began with hardly any immediate action on track, until Frenchman Romain Grosjean took to the track after two minutes of the session going green. Instead of completing only one installation lap, many drivers instead launched straight into a flying lap as Grosjean set the first timed lap of the session early on with a 01:45.049. However, this time was quickly beaten by Sergio Perez and then Pastor Maldonado as more and more drivers gradually took to the track.

Kamui Kobayashi then went quickest with a 01:41.085, destroying his front-right tyre in the process with an almighty lock-up through the final turn. As the times quickly began to tumble in traditional free practice fashion, Mark Webber was heard complaining of a potential downshifting issue with his Red Bull gearbox.

Meanwhile, many drivers began swapping positions at the top. Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso all momentarily went fastest as the session wore on as the time at the top was brought down to a 01:40.248. The Mercedes duo of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg then went fastest respectively, with many including Pirelli tipping the 7-time World Champion for victory this weekend.

As the session wore on, many drivers began opting for the soft (yellow) Pirelli tyre compound, which inevitably produced even quicker times at the top. Jenson Button became the first driver to dip below the 01:40s with a 01:39.990, before Rosberg then Alonso went even quicker with a 01:39.733.

Pedro de la Rosa prematurely ended his afternoon session, as the local favorite slammed his HRT into the wall on the exit of turn 14. The Spaniard took full responsibility for the heavy impact, which destroyed the front left-hand side of the car. Whilst the marshals cleared the stricken HRT, the track remained green yet many drivers took the opportunity to return to the pits.

In final half of the session, the majority of the field began completing longer race simulations. Sebastian Vettel stormed to the top with a 01:39.334 before he too began his race simulation, thus meaning the German’s time at the top remained unchallenged as the session drew to a close. Sergio Perez spun his Sauber at turn 17, as the Mexican pushed to the limits in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying hour.

With only one more practice session remaining before the all-important qualifying hour tomorrow, the teams and drivers will be crunching the numbers long into the evening as they try and outperform each other. With the unpredictability set to continue this weekend, expect a thrilling qualifying hour tomorrow as the teams battle for pole-position.

P    Name           Best        Gap Sec 1 Sec 2 Sec 3 Laps
1  1 S. VETTEL      1:39.334         26.2  45.1  27.8   33
2 12 N. HULKENBERG  1:39.465  0.131  26.2  45.2  27.9   32
3 14 K. KOBAYASHI   1:39.595  0.261  26.4  45.1  27.9   20
4  7 M. SCHUMACHER  1:39.601  0.267  26.2  45.1  28.1   27
5 19 B. SENNA       1:39.644  0.310  26.2  45.4  27.7   34
6 11 P. DI RESTA    1:39.700  0.366  26.3  45.0  28.1   32
7  5 F. ALONSO      1:39.733  0.399  26.3  45.3  28.0   34
8 10 R. GROSJEAN    1:39.868  0.534  26.3  45.2  28.2   33
9  2 M. WEBBER      1:39.901  0.567  26.3  45.3  27.9   30
10  8 N. ROSBERG     1:39.926  0.592  26.2  45.2  28.0   32
11  9 K. RAIKKONEN   1:39.945  0.611  26.2  45.2  28.1   34
12  3 J. BUTTON      1:39.990  0.656  26.3  45.3  28.1   33
13 18 P. MALDONADO   1:40.075  0.741  26.4  45.4  28.0   29
14  4 L. HAMILTON    1:40.147  0.813  26.4  45.4  28.1   25
15  6 F. MASSA       1:40.244  0.910  26.2  45.5  28.3   35
16 15 S. PEREZ       1:40.511  1.177  26.5  45.6  28.2   29
17 21 V. PETROV      1:40.963  1.629  26.7  45.8  28.4   20
18 16 D. RICCIARDO   1:41.121  1.787  26.7  45.6  28.5   32
19 20 H. KOVALAINEN  1:41.197  1.863  26.7  45.7  28.4   38
20 17 J. VERGNE      1:41.263  1.929  26.9  45.7  28.5   29
21 24 T. GLOCK       1:42.424  3.090  27.0  46.5  28.8   21
22 25 C. PIC         1:42.958  3.624  27.1  46.6  28.9   30
23 23 N. KARTHIKEYAN 1:44.201  4.867  27.4  47.1  29.4   33
24 22 P. DE LA ROSA  1:44.260  4.926  27.4  47.1  29.3   12     


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