Austin Practice 2: Same old story as Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2
16 November, 2013
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull restored what is now the expected pecking order in Formula 1 by ending the second Free Practice session of the United States Grand Prix fastest of all, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Vettel who had a somewhat subdued morning session, bounced back to set the day’s best time of 1:37.305, which was 0.115 of a second up on teammate Mark Webber. This year’s time compares to Vettel’s best of 1:37.718 in FP2 last year.
Ominously for their rivals, the Red Bull duo looked even more potent in race mode, with Vettel apparently one second faster than anyone, except for Webber who was a few tenths adrift on race pace.
Best of the rest were the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who were third and fourth respectively, albeit half a second down on the top time. Hamilton was wearing a special maroon coloured USA edition helmet livery paying tribute to musical legend Michael Jackson.
It was superb day for Heikki Kovalainen on his return to Formula 1 with a top team, as he ended the day fifth fastest, beating Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean by 0.181 of a second. Although the Finn appeared to have the edge on hot lap pace, Grosjean looked at tad stronger in race trim. He ended the day eighth quickest.
Kovalainen, on duty in place of hospitalised Kimi Raikkonen, took remarkably little time to adapt to a cockpit he had never seen before and vindicated the team’s decision to use him for the last two races of 2013. He would qualify for drive of the day if there were such an accolade, while Lotus hailed the effort as ‘brilliant’.
Splitting the two black and gold cars on the timing screens were the Saubers of Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg in sixth and seventh respectively. The young Mexicanwas fastest of the Ferrari-powered brigade at what he calls his ‘home’ race.
Jenson Button was ninth fastest in his McLaren, with teammate Sergio Perez 12th in the 90 minutes session. Button was the last of the drivers within a second of Vettel’s chart topping best.
In the morning session Fernando Alonso was fastest, but the Ferrari driver was only good for tenth in FP2, with teammate Felipe Massa 12th on the timing sheets.
Subbed by AJN.
United States Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 16 November 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.305||35|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.420||0.115||37|
|11||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.719||1.414||31|
|15||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.410||2.105||34|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:40.563||3.258||35|