US GP Practice 2: Vettel fastest as Red Bull looks dominant
17 November, 2012
Nov.16 Apex) The signs are ominous for their rivals as Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber hogged the top two spots on the timing screens at the end of the first day of practice for the United States Grand Prix at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
Although not quite the 1.5 seconds it had been in FP1, again there was substantial daylight between Vettel’s best time of 1 minute 37.718 seconds and his closest rival – 0.757 seconds to be precise – which suggests that the German has taken a liking to the spanking new Circuit of the Americas. Which is no surprise as he appears to thrive on fast and flowing layouts – Suzuka and Buddh International Circuit spring to mind.
The only sign of weakness was the fact that the world champion, who is hot favourite to notch up his third title in as many years, spent half the session in the pits as a water leak on his RB8 was repaired. But when he was out on track and in full flight he was easily the quickest man in Austin.
Behind the pace setting Red Bull pair was the only other world championship contender Fernando Alonso who would have been pleased that the FP1 two second gap was down to a more respectable level. The Ferrari driver ended the session third, a mere 0.008 seconds off Webber and 0.765 seconds down on Vettel.
Next up were the McLarens with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fourth and fifth respectively. Hamilton survived a big spin at the halfway mark, but some sublime skills kept it pointing in the right direction…no harm done.
Felipe Massa was sixth fastest, and again, as in FP1, the top six places were annexed by the big three teams.
Best of the rest was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, while his teammate Michael Schumacher improved his pace but was only good for tenth best in the afternoon.
Williams endured a subdued morning but featured at the sharp end of business by the time Austin had heated up and the temperature of the brand new track surface increased. Bruno Senna was eighth fastest, with Pastor Maldonado 12th.
Out of the top ten were both Lotus drivers, including Abu Dhabi GP winner Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, who finished the session 11th and 13th.
Throughout the season the top eight to ten drivers have always been within one second or so at the top of the timing screens. In Austin the top four were separated by 1.050 seconds, which gives an indication of how Red Bull, Vettel in particular, have upped their game.
Subbed by AJN.
United States Grand Prix Practice 2, Circuit of the Americas – Friday 16 November 2012
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.718||17|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.475||0.757||36|
|17||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:40.700||2.982||34|
|18||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.430||3.712||35|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:44.453||6.735|
- Vettel: To win every race since the summer break is unbelievable, the car has been phenomenal
- Rosberg: What Sebastian’s car can do in the corners is madness
- Red Bull claims 1.9 second pitstop record during Austin race
- Straight eight historic winning streak puts Vettel ahead of childhood idol Schumacher
- Vettel: Eight in a row…it’s one of those records you never expect to be beaten
- Webber: I’m happy to finish on the podium in front of American fans for the last time in F1
- Red Bull: It was a great team performance and a great 40th birthday present for Christian
- Red Bull: The car doesn’t feel mega yet, there’s still some work to do
- Vettel to wear helmet designed by fan in Austin
- Vettel: Last year we were very close to winning here, hopefully we get there this year