United States GP: Red Bull dominate, Vettel and Webber on top of practice two
By Berthold Bouman
Current World Champion Sebastian Vettel once again topped the charts at the Circuit of the Americas during the second free practice session, as he again took first place for Red Bull, but this time he was followed by his Australian team colleague Mark Webber who took second place. As predicted, this afternoon Vettel improved on the fastest time he set this morning, but the difference wasn’t as much as expected, the German improved his time with 0.407 seconds.
But Vettel experienced technical problems, and his car was in the Red Bull garage for almost an hour after he had encountered cooling problems, but he nevertheless took first place easily when he was back on track.
Webber was closely followed by Fernando Alonso who was third, but by the smallest of margins, as the Spanish Ferrari driver was only eight thousandths of a second behind Webber. Both McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were fourth and fifth, while Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari was like this morning again in sixth place.
Mercedes improved their pace significantly, as Nico Rosberg was seventh, and seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher was tenth this afternoon. Also Williams seemed to have found some more speed, in particular Bruno Senna who took eighth place, and was thus faster than Pastor Maldonado who was 12th.
Kamui Kobayashi was once again the fastest Sauber driver on ninth place, Mexican Sergio Perez was 14th. Kimi Raikkonen was also a bit faster than this morning, he was now 11th, and perhaps he should have prepared himself for the new circuit on the simulator like the other big guns had done. Romain Grosjean was 13th, just one-tenth slower than his Finnish team mate.
Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne lost a few places compared to the morning session and took 15th and 16th place on this afternoon’s timetable. Also both Force India drivers were further back, Nico Hulkenberg was 17th while Paul di Resta was 18th.
Heikki Kovalainen had a puncture after Jean-Eric Vergne had clipped the rear tyre of the Caterham and the Finn had to limp back to the pits for a set of new Pirellis, Kovalainen nevertheless took his usual 19th place, while Vitaly Petrov in the second Caterham was 21st.
Timo Glock did a great job and took 20th place, just 0.176 seconds slower than Kovalainen, Charles Pic was this time 22nd. Pedro de la Rosa was 23rd for HRT, and poor Narain Karthikeyan, who had to lend his car to Ma Qing Hua in the morning, finally had a chance to see something of the Circuit of the Americas from a drivers’ point of view, but as he didn’t have enough time due to technical problems HRT encountered this afternoon, he was 24th and last.
On Saturday morning drivers have one more chance to get familiar with the ins and outs of the Circuit of the Americas, and a few hours later they will participate in the all-important qualifying session, which will determine the start order for Sunday’s inaugural United States Grand Prix.
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing
United States GP: Free Practice 2 Results Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:37.718 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.475 + 0.757 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.483 + 0.765 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.748 + 1.030 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.786 + 1.068 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.029 + 1.311 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.448 + 1.730 8. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:39.531 + 1.813 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.653 + 1.935 10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:40.115 + 2.397 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:40.166 + 2.448 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:40.230 + 2.512 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:40.2$6 + 2.568 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:40.326 + 2.608 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:40.435 + 2.717 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:40.516 + 2.798 17. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:40.700 + 2.982 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:41.430 + 3.712 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:42.476 + 4.758 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.652 + 4.934 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:42.846 + 5.128 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:43.538 + 5.820 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:44.453 + 6.735 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:45.114 + 7.396