By Berthold Bouman
Montezemolo wants a winning car right from the start of the season
A few days ago Ferrari President Luca Cordera di Montezemolo told his Ferrari team that he was proud to have been a contender for the 2012 Drivers’ Championship until the very last race, the flamboyant Italian has now called upon his team to produce a car that is capable of winning right from the start.
Last weekend Fernando Alonso lost the championship to Sebastian Vettel, the difference was just three points, and earlier this week Montezemolo said, “Certainly not winning the title is the cause for great sorrow and great regret, because we always want to win and we came close.”
This morning Montezemolo spoke to his team at their Maranello headquarters and said, “You should be proud of what you have done, because you managed to be contenders right to the very end, even if we did not have the quickest car.”
And he added, “There were at least two cars, the McLaren and the Red Bull, that were better than ours. Therefore having managed to get ahead of at least one of them in the Constructors’ and keeping Fernando in the fight right to the end, was very significant and I wish to thank you for that.”
But although he’s proud of his team, he wants a better car next year and he said, “However, now is the time to look ahead to next year. I want us to start with a car that is immediately capable of fighting for the win and it has to be our first task.”
Montezemolo wants to see changes for next season, “In order to achieve that, each one of us must improve in our own roles by at least a millimeter. We must revamp our organization and our working methods to try and be at the same level as the best, right from the first race, which for too many years now we have failed to do.”
Vettel overtaking case is closed
Alonso and Massa on the podium at Interlagos
Montezemolo talked a lot about pride this week, the word he seemingly forgot when Ferrari asked the FIA in a letter for clarification about Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvre on Jean-Eric Vergne during the title deciding race in Brazil, hoping the German would get a 20-second post-race penalty and thus could retrospectively lose the Formula One crown to Alonso.
Even Bernie Ecclestone called this move ‘unbecoming’ of Ferrari, the FIA wiped Ferrari’s arguments from the table and said there was ‘no case to answer’ and deemed Vettel had done nothing wrong.
In a statement today Ferrari said, “The letter to the FIA was in no way intended to undermine the legality of the race result. We received tens of thousands of queries relating to this matter from all over the world and it was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the Federation to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula One enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans.”
The case is now closed according to the statement, “Ferrari duly takes note of the reply sent by the FIA this morning and therefore considers the matter now closed.”
By Berthold Bouman
FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone has labelled Ferrari’s complaint about Sebastian Vettel’s alleged passing under yellow a ‘complete joke’. Ferrari has asked the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, for clarification, after video footage of the incident surfaced on the internet. On the footage Vettel overtakes the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne between Turns 3 and 4, while yellow lights are flashing.
The FIA has already responded to the letter Ferrari sent them and has told them that ‘there is no case to answer’. According to the FIA Vettel overtook Vergne after he had passed a marshal post where a green flag was waved, and regulations say that the first green ‘counts’, which in this case was the green flag, and not the green light.
The Formula One boss was not happy with the fact that the championship has been tainted by Ferrari’s claim that Vettel made an illegal pass during the last and title-deciding race of the year. Ecclestone told the UK Telegraph, “It’s a shame because everything had gone so well. It was a super race, a super championship. Now everyone is talking about this. The problem is that no one knows what is going on.”
He further explained, “In the rules and regs normally you have to protest. They [Ferrari] missed that time [deadline]. Then there is the fact that a green flag was shown, which nobody seems to dispute.”
And he added, “It’s a complete joke. What they [Ferrari] are saying in that letter is wrong. I don’t think there needs to be any action taken. It’s completely and utterly wrong.”
Ecclestone also thinks the whole situation is unbecoming of Ferrari, “Personally I think it’s not really like Ferrari to do this. I think they badly wanted to win. But if you want to go back and see what Ferrari have done down the years … ”
He was also confident that no action will be taken against Vettel, “But nothing will happen. What can they do? Take civil action? Maybe. But the case is flawed before it starts. Nothing is going to happen.”
By Berthold Bouman
According to reports from Autosport and the German Auto, Motor und Sport magazine the FIA has deemed Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvres during the Brazilian Grand Prix were legal. On Tuesday videos surfaced in which Vettel apparently overtakes Kamui Kobayashi and later Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow.
The first video of the incident with Kobayashi shows Vettel overtaking the Sauber under yellow, but after a thorough analysis of the footage it is clearly visible the yellow light is not flashing, which means overtaking is allowed. When yellow flags are waved, or a yellow light is flashing, overtaking is not allowed.
It is also clear a track marshal is waving a red-yellow striped flag, with means, “caution, slippery surface,” just metres ahead of the yellow light. The FIA concluded Vettel had not done anything wrong overtaking Kobayashi as the yellow light and the red-yellow striped flag were just a warning for the slippery conditions.
The second video (see below) that surfaced is a bit more difficult to interpret, as in the rain it is more difficult to see whether the lights were green or yellow. The first flashing yellow light can be seen on the left, some 2 seconds after the start of the video.
The second light on the right (0:10) is further away from the track as it is positioned behind the run-off area, while the first one is next to the track, in a higher position and more visible. Vettel apparently overtakes Vergne under yellow, however, the FIA has told several media outlets there was a green flag waving at a marshal post before Vettel overtook Vergne — which makes the move legitimate.
Earlier today Ferrari were considering filing an official appeal and Luca Colajanni said, “We’re looking at the video. We have until tomorrow to file an appeal.” But later today Ferrari said on their official Twitter account, “Ferrari asked, by means of a letter, for a clarification from FIA regarding VET’s overtaking move on VER during lap 4 of the Brazilian GP.” Which means Ferrari has only asked for clarification, and did not file an appeal after all.
By Berthold Bouman
Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna in 2013, Williams announced this morning, and for the young Finn it is a dream come true. The 23-year old driver had already joined Williams in 2010 and became the official test and reserve driver for the Grove-based outfit, and has participated in 15 Friday morning practice sessions this season, and Bottas is now ready for his new role as race driver.
The talented Finn has an impressive race C.V., he won the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC series with team Motopark Academy in 2008, won the Masters of Formula Three in 2009 and 2010, and won the GP3 series in 2011 for Lotus ART.
Bottas already has shown he is fast in the Williams, as he several times out-paced regular drivers Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. Asked how participating in the free practice sessions has helped him to prepare for his new job as race driver he said, “This will be a big help as it means there are only a handful of circuits on the 2013 calendar that I have never driven, in Australia, Monaco, Valencia, Austin and Singapore. There will still be a lot of work to do but it means that I do have some knowledge to work from heading to most races next season.”
However, being a test driver, Bottas missed racing this year, “Obviously I’ve missed racing a great deal so can’t wait to get back onto a starting grid, but I’ve been racing constantly since a very young age so when the lights go out in Australia It will be business as usual.”
Now his dream has finally come true, how does he feel about his new role at Williams? “It feels incredible to be driving in Formula One next season and to be with a team like Williams, with all its pedigree, is even more special. I’ve worked hard to get here ever since I started karting at six years old, but the real work starts now as I prepare myself for the biggest challenge of my career.”
Bottas aims to score points for Williams in 2013
Of course he now knows all the Williams engineers, and he thinks this will be a benefit next year, “I’ve been part of the Williams family since the start of 2010 and feel very at home both at Grove and at the track. I know my engineers very well so we already know how to get the best performance from each other.”
And he added, “I also live in the UK and last year moved just down the road from the factory so I am there quite a lot and know everyone well. Because of that we can focus immediately on the 2013 season and what we can achieve together.”
Asked about his objectives for 2012 he said, “It’s difficult to set objectives before the season starts, so I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity to prove the team has been right to promote me to a race seat. I want to look back on 2013 and feel that I’ve improved as a driver and helped the team improve its performance on the track.”
And the young driver is even aiming to score some points in 2013, “As a team I think we should be aiming to score more points than this year and really get the most out of the car. Personally I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team!”
Bottas aims to score points in 2013
By Berthold Bouman
The Williams Formula One team announced this morning they have signed Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas for 2013, which means another piece in the 2013 driver line-up puzzle has fallen into its place. It will be the third season for Venezuelan Maldonado, while Bottas, until now test and reserve driver, has been promoted to race driver.
Maldonado, who won the Spanish Grand Prix this season and gave the Williams team a victory eight years after Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, commented on his contract renewal, “I’m really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013.”
Looking back at the 2012 season he said, “2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.”
Asked about his objectives for 2013 he said, “The goal is to be more competitive next year and have a car that is consistently in the points and challenging for podiums. This year we showed excellent pace at a number of tracks such as Barcelona, Monaco and Abu Dhabi, but we didn’t have the consistency to maintain that at every Grand Prix. We have all the tools needed to push the top teams, and hopefully we can learn from this year and move further up the field.”
Valtteri Bottas replaces Bruno Senna at Williams
Bottas, who has done a more than average job during this year’s Friday’s first free practice sessions as he regularly beat Bruno Senna and Maldonado, is of course looking forward to the 2013 season. “It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship,” the Finn said.
For him, the Williams team is a great place to start his Formula One career, “To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I’ve really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat. I’m looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.”
Team owner Sir Frank Williams is happy with his driver line-up for 2013 and said, “In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.” And he added, “Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.”
The announcement is bad news for Bruno Senna, but Williams wished him the best of luck, “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing driver Bruno Senna for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.’’
By Berthold Bouman
The above title could be the new text on yet another Kimi Raikkonen T-shirt, as the Finn seemingly couldn’t find his way back to the track after he had gone off the Interlagos circuit and then had to use the escape road. Unfortunately it was a dead-end road, and Raikkonen had to turn his car around and take the same road back, then practised his rally skills a bit and rally crossed over the grass back onto the circuit.
What the heck happened there? Raikkonen explained after the race, “I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again!”
It wasn’t really a good race for the Iceman, he had started the race from eighth on the grid, and finished in tenth place, adding just one point to his tally. He was actually lucky Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the race, or he would have lost his third place in the Drivers’ Championship to the McLaren driver.
But he couldn’t care less about his position in the race, as Raikkonen already had said ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, “I don’t care if I am second, fourth, or 10th,” he said. “We are here to try to win, and it really doesn’t give me anything if I am third or fourth.”
And the championship? “If I finish third or fourth it doesn’t matter. If you ask someone after five years in Formula One and who was second or third, it would be the same. It makes no difference. It looks maybe better on paper but in reality it doesn’t mean anything.”
Kimi Raikkonen: I wasn’t lost!
As said, not a good race, the weekend started with engine problems during the first free practice session, Renault thought they had fixed the problem but on Saturday morning during the final free practice session the engine blew up. He then got the engine he already had used during the United States Grand Prix, which didn’t blew up, but had a bit less power which on a high-altitude circuit is a disadvantage as the engine already loses some 40bhp due to the reduced air-density.
Raikkonen started on the medium tyres, after five laps switched to the intermediates, on lap 19 he pitted for mediums, and on lap 53 he pitted for another set of intermediates. Just before he changed for the last time to the intermediates, he lost control at the last corner, managed to avoid the barriers, but lost his bearings and took the wrong road. Maybe he needs a co-pilot to show him the way, like in rally?
By Berthold Bouman
Ferrari came close to winning this year’s Formula One Drivers’ Championship at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Brazil yesterday. When Sebastian Vettel was forced into a spin by Bruno Senna during the first lap, Ferrari, of course, saw an opportunity and when Felipe Massa helped Alonso to third place, things were looking good for Ferrari.
Although Alonso never gives up, Vettel didn’t give up either yesterday, and finished in sixth place, enough to take the title. Alonso did what he could, but it just wasn’t enough. But the Spaniard feels he wouldn’t have done it any other way, for him it was a perfect season.
“I score this season a 10! If we had to repeat these twenty races I would change nothing done by the team or yours truly: no mistakes, no mechanical problems, zero problems at the pit stops, zero strategic mistakes,” he said. He also thinks he didn’t lose the title at Interlagos, “We definitely did not lose the title today, as that happened in Spa or Suzuka.”
Overall, Alonso is satisfied with the 2012 season, “We might not have finished the season with the most points, but we won many other things, like everyone’s respect and fans and colleagues agree on who was the best this year. I am proud of the job I did and that was also the case last year when I finished fourth and again this time when I fought right to the very end.”
And he is also proud of his Ferrari team, who did everything they could, “I feel happy inside: I worked day after day with the team, which pays me at the end of every month and today, they can be proud of what they’ve done. Once again today we did an impeccable job, finishing on the podium after starting from the fourth row, producing yet another little Sunday miracle.”
Asked what he expects from his team in 2013 he was clear, “That’s easy, a quicker car; but most of all I’d like to see the same effort and professionalism the team displayed when it reacted to our initial difficulties. Even if maybe we didn’t manage to reach the performance level of the best, everyone demonstrated total dedication. I am happy and proud and now’s the time to drink a caipirinha!”
Alonso hails perfect Ferrari season
By Berthold Bouman
Mixed emotions for Lewis Hamilton in Brazil yesterday, after taking the pole the 2008 World Champion he had set his sights on winning the race as a farewell present for his McLaren team. But it wasn’t to be, after taking the lead from Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, he was in a good position to win the race.
But Hulkenberg decided he wanted his first place back and the German dived into the inside of Turn One, but he was a little late on the brakes, his car started to slide and he collided with Hamilton, the front suspension broke and it was game over for the McLaren driver.
About the incident that cost him a victory he commented, “He came to see me after the race, which was nice. Now that the 2012 season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It’s been a day of mixed emotions. I’m sad that I didn’t finish the race, but I’m excited about the future.”
Leaving McLaren was difficult for Hamilton, “I’ll miss my friends and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but I’m optimistic about what lies ahead for me. I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn’t have done anything more.”
And he added, “It’s been a brilliant experience to be a part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team over the past six years. I want to thank everyone and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future. They’ve been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job. So, to all of you at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I’ll miss each and every one of you!”
By Berthold Bouman
The whole Formula One fraternity is looking forward to the title deciding race today, the 20th and last race of the season at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. A circuit where many titles were won, but also lost, most notably the race in 2008 was a race Formula One fans will never forget.
Felipe Massa won the race on a wet Interlagos track in front of his home crowd after he had left from pole, his family in the Ferrari garage was already celebrating his title, but unfortunately for the Brazilian Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock in the Toyota in the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the season. It doesn’t get any tighter than that, it was a heck of a season finale.
By doing so, Hamilton had scored one point more than Massa, and in the Ferrari garage everyone turned their head to the TV screens, as Hamilton was shown as winner of the 2008 World Championship. Massa famously was the 2008 World Champion for 20 seconds, his family looked in disbelief at the TV screens, and so did the Ferrari personnel.
Glock had run wide at the last corner on a wet and slippery circuit, and Hamilton was able to pass him and although he almost went off himself, he made it to the finish line in fifth place and became the 2008 World Champion. Massa, who was cruising to the pits after he had crossed the finish line, had already waved to the Brazilian crowd to thank them for their support, but he too saw on the big spectator screens positioned along the circuit something was going on, and at last he understood what had happened.
Michael Schumacher had left the Reds at the end of 2006, and his successor Kimi Raikkonen who won the championship in 2007, was already out of contention for the 2008 title, and Massa finally had been given the chance to win the championship for his beloved Ferrari team, but saw his title slip away in those 20 seconds.
There was not much Massa could do, he duly parked his car in the parc fermé in front of the sign that says “P1”, sat in his car with his helmet still on and cried his heart out while all TV cameras were pointed at him.
But that was in 2008 and Ferrari has vowed this will never happen again. But of course for the fans and spectators 2008 had been a very interesting season to say the least, with the then 23-year old, Hamilton taking the championship in only his second year in Formula One. He has never won the championship again, in fact, after 2008 he has never finished in the top-three of the Drivers’ Championship again.
One thing is certain, Hamilton will not win the title this year, and therefore has set his sights on taking pole, and then the victory during his last race for McLaren. He already took pole yesterday and is in a great position to win the Brazilian Grand Prix.
As for Ferrari, Alonso has shown he can perform miracles with a car that is not fast enough, but he has to make up a 13-point deficit, and to add to his problems, he will start from eighth place on the grid, while his rival Vettel will start the race from fourth place. And there is rain expected, which could further complicate things for the Spaniard.
There have been reports Alonso was only eighth because he opted for a different car set-up compared to Vettel, which would make him the favourite in the rain, but there is no point in guessing, it’s even not sure it will rain during the race.
A few things are clear ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, if Alonso crashes or has a mechanical failure and is out of the race, Vettel will win the 2012 Drivers’ Championship, when that happens he doesn’t even have to finish the race himself. If Vettel crashes out of the race or his alternator, for instance, would fail again, Alonso still has to finish on the podium to take the 2012 crown. Another, but not entirely unlikely scenario, is that the two could collide and take each other out, then Vettel would also win the title.
Hamilton could in fact help Alonso, as the difference between first and second place is seven points, and Hamilton can take away seven points from Vettel by winning the race, this would certainly help Alonso. There are of course more permutations:
Vettel will also win the title if
• He finishes in the top four
• He finishes fifth, sixth or seventh and Alonso is second or lower
• He finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso is third or lower
• He finishes 10th or lower and Alonso fails to make it onto the podium
And Fernando Alonso will win the title if
• He wins the race and Vettel is fifth or lower
• He finishes second and Vettel is eighth or lower
• He finishes third and Vettel is 10th or lower
Vettel vs Alonso – Copyright: Deviant Art – Atatashechke
By Berthold Bouman
A very important weekend for both Ferrari and Red Bull, after 19 races Sebastian Vettel is leading the Formula One Drivers’ Championship, 13 points ahead of Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, both teams will do the utmost to clinch the title on Sunday at the Brazilian Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, named after Brazilian driver Carlos Pace who was active in Formula One during the 1970’s but, unfortunately, the rising star was killed during an aircraft accident in 1977.
It will be a ‘do or die’ weekend for Ferrari, is the opinion of Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. The Italian was asked about Ferrari’s approach for this weekend during the usual FIA Friday press conference, “We have nothing to lose. We are already behind. We need to go there with a rational approach, as I said, to try to be there, if some situation will arise, we need to be prepared to take them. This is really the spirit that is around the team at the moment.”
Asked about what plans Ferrari has made for this weekend he said, “We have done the job we were supposed to do today. We know that this weekend for us is a challenging weekend. We have to do the maximum on our side and that will not be enough if we want to win the Drivers’ Championship.”
Rain has been forecasted for Saturday and Sunday, asked whether this would be an advantage for Ferrari or not, the Italian replied, “I’ll tell you later. Before [the race], it’s always difficult [to tell]. It can be good in terms of mixing the cars but it depends on how intense the rain is, when it will come. It is another thing on the table that has to be used in the best way we can.”
Domenicali was very satisfied with Alonso’s achievements this season, “Fernando, in my view, up to now, did one of the best seasons of his career.” Alonso didn’t really have the fastest car, but said Domenicali, “He was able to extract from that the maximum out of it. He was able to get great victories in a moment where the car has improved, he drove really well in wet conditions when he was in that situation. He was always at the maximum.”
So, what does he expect from the Spaniard this weekend? “I’m sure Fernando will do the maximum of his capability to make sure … to do the best with the car that he has with a team that is working hard under a lot of pressure. I’m happy for that, because the team was able to do sometimes incredible work.”
One reporter reminded the Italian team boss about the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa won the race, but nevertheless lost the title to Lewis Hamilton during a wet race, at the finish line the difference was forty seconds, but Hamilton’s fifth place was enough to take the 2008 crown. Could this happen again this weekend?
“In 2008 we were able to win the Constructors’ title, to have Felipe as World Champion of Drivers for 20 seconds, but after Hamilton won the [title] race, in a championship where I would say we lost, if I remember well, mainly because the car was not reliable enough, because we had some races where unfortunately we had severe DNF that caused us to lose that championship,” said Domenicali.
“On Sunday, I think that, as I said, we are in a different spirit. We cannot look back; we need to see whatever will be the outcome we need to accept it. So therefore I would say our mindset is closer to what we had in 2007 at the moment.”
By Berthold Bouman
Lewis Hamilton almost burst out in tears when he was quizzed about his McLaren exit by BBC reporter Lee McKenzie. The interview will be aired during the BBC preview of the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of today’s qualifying at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Asked how the 2008 World Champion will feel after the chequered flag has been waved to signal the end of the last race of the season, he said, “I might have to keep my helmet on. It’s going to be tough. It’s my family and I’ll be going elsewhere. It’s best I don’t talk about it too much.”
When McKenzie remarked, “You get choked up thinking about it,” Hamilton couldn’t really speak and just said, “Mmm.” About his hectic last few months with McLaren Hamilton commented, “Every weekend and then the last month or so was horrible. I had that pressure on and in my personal life when I’m stressed I don’t know how to get it out of me, and I was very stressed and then I had to do my job.”
When Hamilton was on a short holiday in Thailand he made the decision to leave McLaren and join Mercedes. “It became clear that I wanted to try something new and I was going to go for it. And then I called Martin [Whitmarsh]. It was the most difficult call I’ve ever had to make because we’d grown so close and he had been so supportive and I didn’t want to let people down.”
And he added, “But at the end of the day you have to let people down sometimes to make decisions.” But he is nevertheless adamant it was the right move, “I have to trust my decision. It is what it is. I made it; I stick to it.”
About next season Hamilton said, “I’ve got to be realistic. Scoring points and getting podiums will be the first target. If we were to get a win in our first year, great. If lots more were to come, great. If not, then we just have to keep working. It’s definitely going to be a different year in which I’m not going to be fighting at the front with Red Bull and McLaren, but I’m optimistic about 2014.”
Hamilton wants to end his career with McLaren on a high, and is aiming for a pole position and a win. He already showed he is very fast in Brazil, as he scored the fastest times during the first two free practice sessions on Friday.
Although Hamilton signed a three-year contract with Mercedes, McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh would welcome him back, “We’d have him back, yes. So let’s hope it’s just a gap year.”
By Berthold Bouman
Lewis Hamilton was again the fastest driver during the second practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos this afternoon. Sebastian Vettel was second for Red Bull, however, on this occasion Hamilton had a 0.274s advantage on the German double World Champion, who couldn’t improve on the time he had set in the first practice session; earlier today the difference between the two was only 0.009s.
Mark Webber was again third for Red Bull, and Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were fourth and fifth respectively for Ferrari. Alonso was 0.566s off Hamilton’s pace, and 0.292s slower than his championship rival Vettel. Michael Schumacher was again fast, faster than he had been during the morning, as he now took possession of sixth place after completing 36 laps on the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Nico Rosberg also improved his pace, he was seventh in the second Mercedes, while Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta completed the top ten this afternoon.
During the morning session most drivers had experimented with the new 2013 Pirelli tyres, but this afternoon it was business as usual, both the medium and hard compound tyres Pirelli has allocated for the Brazilian Grand Prix were extensively tested, and most teams did a long run with the fuel tanks topped off to check their race-pace.
Nico Hulkenberg was 11th in the second Force India. It is the young German’s last race for The Indian team this weekend, as he will move to Sauber next year to drive alongside Mexican Esteban Gutierrez and Dutch test driver Robin Frijns.
Kimi Raikkonen’s engine gremlins were gone and this time the Finn was 12th, followed by Bruno Senna, who was back behind the wheel of the Williams. The next two on this afternoon’s list are Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, who took 14th and 15th for Sauber.
Daniel Ricciardo was again the fastest Toro Rosso driver on 16th place, his team mate Jean-Eric Vergne was 18th, but almost two seconds off the pace. Not a great afternoon for Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, as he was 17th, in the morning Maldonado finished in ninth place.
Further down the order were the usual suspects, Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen were 19th and 20th for Caterham, while HRT driver Pedro de la Rosa surprisingly left both Marussia drivers behind him as he was four-tenths of a second faster than Timo Glock and Charles Pic who took 22nd and 23rd place, while Narain Karthikeyan was 24th and last.
The third and final free practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix is tomorrow morning, rain and lower temperatures have been forecasted for Saturday and Sunday, and certainly during qualifying tomorrow afternoon, rain could become a major factor when 24 drivers line up to decide who will start the race from pole position on Sunday.
Hamilton’s last race for McLaren
Brazilian GP: Free Practice Session 2 Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.026 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:14.300 + 0.274 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:14.523 + 0.497 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.553 + 0.527 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.592 + 0.566 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.654 + 0.628 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.669 + 0.643 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.863 + 0.837 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:14.994 + 0.968 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:15.129 + 1.103 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:15.131 + 1.105 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:15.371 + 1.345 13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:15.432 + 1.406 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.542 + 1.516 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.839 + 1.813 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.902 + 1.876 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:15.953 + 1.927 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.048 + 2.022 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:16.126 + 2.100 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:16.655 + 2.629 21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:17.244 + 3.218 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:17.675 + 3.649 23. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:18.127 + 4.101 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:18.139 + 4.113