Indian GP: Red Bull dominate second Friday practice session, Perez back in the car
By Berthold Bouman
Sebastian Vettel was again fastest during the second free practice session for the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit this afternoon, but he was now closely followed by his Australian team mate Mark Webber, who was 0.118 seconds slower than the German 2010 and 2011 World Champion.
Red Bull showed their supremacy again as third fastest driver Fernando Alonso was almost six-tenths of a second slower, which is bad news for Alonso’s and Ferrari’s title aspirations, as 0.6 seconds is almost an eternity in Formula One, if Red Bull can maintain the same pace the remaining title contenders will have a hard time keeping up with both Red Bull drivers during Sunday’s race.
Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen were fourth and fifth, but the damage was even worse for McLaren, as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were sixth and seventh, but nine-tenths of a second slower than Vettel.
This time Nico Hulkenberg was the fastest Force India driver, he was eighth, while Paul di Resta was 11th after completing 32 laps. Difficult times for the Force India team, team owner Vijay Mallya was again prominently absent as his Kingfisher airline is in deep financial problems and he perhaps did not want to face his employees who wanted to confront him during his home Grand Prix.
Romain Grosjean was ninth for Lotus, both Lotus drivers significantly improved their pace compared to this morning’s session, Bruno Senna completed the top ten but was one and a half second off the pace. Pastor Maldonado was just like this morning again way off the pace and was 17th in the second Williams.
A big surprise as Sergio Perez jumped into his Sauber again after he had skipped the morning session due to a severe cold, and was the fastest Sauber driver in 12th place. His team mate Kamui Kobayashi was 0.277 seconds slower and the Japanese driver took 16th place.
Two seconds slower than his compatriot Vettel, Michael Schumacher took 13th place in the second Mercedes, the again-to-retire seven-times World Champion was 1.2 seconds slower than Rosberg.
Except the huge advantage Red Bull seems to have at the Indian track, there were no other surprises this afternoon, except perhaps Felipe Massa who was again very disappointing — and after he had spun twice and complained about the balance of his car, landed 15th spot this afternoon.
Daniel Ricciardo was 13th for Toro Rosso and Jean-Eric Vergne was 18th. Again the same names further down the order, Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen was back in the car after Dutchman Giedo van der Garde had borrowed it this morning, and the Finn took 19th spot, ahead of Russian Vitaly Petrov in the other Caterham.
Pedro de la Rosa made progress compared to the first session, he beat his team mate Narain Karthikeyan who took 23rd place, but also beat both Marussia drivers, as Timo Glock was 22nd and Charles Pic, who was 24th and last this afternoon.
Tomorrow morning all drivers have a last chance to find some more speed during the third and final practice session, and prepare themselves for the qualifying session in the afternoon.