Formula 1 News

Raikkonen edges out Vettel in second practice

A rain interrupted FP2 session ended with the Finn on top for Lotus in Malaysia
Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22nd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - The second Free Practice session for Sunday's Malaysia Grand Prix ended with Australian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the time sheets for Lotus, followed by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. The session was interrupted by a rain shower, which meant all of the quick lap times were set in the first half ofthe 90-minute session. Fortunately, when the rain came down it was not heavy enough to prevent the cars from running, which gave all of the drivers some time to get used to the wet weather tyres.

At the start of FP2, the drivers streamed out onto the track, knowing that they would likely have their running limited by rain. There were a few different testing programmes being carried out by the various teams, with some looking for lap times to compare the performance of the two dry weather tyre compounds, and some looking at longer high-fuel runs. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg spent the early part of the session at the bottom of the order, six seconds off the pace as they worked on race setups. Later, when they put the medium compound option tyre on their cars, they were quicker, but not as quick as expected, leading Susie Wolff to speculate in the BBC commentary that they could still have a bit more fuel on board than the other drivers.

When the rain started, the track gradually became slippery. The heat in Malaysia meant that there was no immediate effect, as the water simply evaporated off the surface of the circuit, but it did ultimately accumulate, first on the kerbs and then on the tarmac, which resulted in quite a few drivers running wide at various parts of the track, and some spinning. Sauber had a miserable session - first the fire extinguishers in Gutierrez's car went off while he was driving, and later his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg spun at the entrance to the pitlane in the slippery conditions. 

When the rain came down, initially all of the drivers made their way back to the pits and waited, but after a while, they started to go out onto the track again, some on intermediate tyres and some on full wet tyres. Lap times were 20 to 25 seconds off the pace while the rain continued, which shows just how slippery the conditions were. Towards the end of FP2, however, the track dried significantly, and Kimi Raikkonen managed a time just 3.677 seconds off his own benchmark time from earlier in the session.

The results firmly established Force India in the top group of teams, Di Resta and Sutil both featuring in the top ten less than a second off the pace and ahead of the McLaren pair of Perez and Button. Unfortunately, a technical issue ended Adrian Sutil's running early as his car was taken apart by the Force India mechanics. He looked relieved to get out of his hot overalls and into lighter clothing, but would no doubt have preferred to carry on driving.  McLaren do look to have improved from their disappointing form in Australia, with both cars 1.3 seconds off the pace in FP2 today. Williams, by contrast, are still struggling despite appearing to have improved in FP1. Maldonado and Bottas were 16th and 19th respectively, well off the pace. Such were the struggles of Williams that Marussia's Jules Bianchi set a time a tenth and a half faster than Bottas. There is clearly much to do at Williams.

Bianchi was easily the stand-out driver in the lower half of the field, featuring 1.8 seconds ahead of his own team-mate, Max Chilton, and over a second faster than the Caterham pair of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. Depending on qualifying conditions, Bianchi could be targeting Q2 tomorrow afternoon. 

Full results of Free Practice 2:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Interval Laps
1 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:36.569     28
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:36.588 0.019 0.019 27
3 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.661 0.092 0.073 33
4 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.985 0.416 0.324 23
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.026 0.457 0.041 29
6 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.206 0.637 0.180 26
7 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.448 0.879 0.242 32
8 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.571 1.002 0.123 30
9 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.574 1.005 0.003 32
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.788 1.219 0.214 10
11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.838 1.269 0.050 21
12 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.865 1.296 0.027 29
13 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.068 1.499 0.203 31
14 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.645 2.076 0.577 23
15 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.738 2.169 0.093 31
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.801 2.232 0.063 27
17 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:38.904 2.335 0.103 31
18 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.508 2.939 0.604 30
19 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.660 3.091 0.152 28
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:40.757 4.188 1.097 29
21 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.768 4.199 0.011 32
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.438 4.869 0.670 23


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