F1 Canada FP2 Results & Full Report: Vettel Puts Red Bull Back at the Top, Alonso Close for Ferrari

What Happens When Times Drop and Tires Grain

3:37pm EST —Sebastian Vettel was quickest in a furious but uneventful FP2 in Montreal, with Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, and Felipe Massa the fastest five as Mercedes power lost its domination over the field in Montreal. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were seventh and eleventh fastest, while Michael Schumacher was ninth fastest. The track got quicker as it rubbered in, though with rain foreceast for Friday night, the qualifying speeds looked to slow or at least stagnate on Saturday. Vettel was the first man into the 1:16s range, with Alonso the only other driver to join him there so far this weekend.

Jenson Button posted the fastest time in a generally overcast and uneventful first practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. While the first (and second and third) practice sessions make actual qualifying and race pace determinations difficult, it was an all Mercedes powered top four, with Michael Schumacher second, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel the five fastest. Robert Kubica, fifth fastest for much of the latter part of the sessionended up sixth fastest. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were seventh and twelfth fastest for Ferrari while the Red Bull of Mark Webber was fourteenth in FP1.

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, and Lucas di Grassi were the first cars out for the second practice session in Montreal, with Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, and Vitaly Petrov quickly following them out of the pits. The Red Bulls were back in after an instalation lap, but they were replaced by the Williamses and Robert Kubica. di Grassi, according to the Virgin Racing Twitter feed was “keen to get laps in this afternoon,” after a loose wheel halted his running in the earlier session and stayed out running while the others came back in. Early quick laps were posted much more quickly than in the first session as the green track rubbered in with continued running. Ten minutes into FP2 and Hamilton had the fastest time (1:18.659), only a half second slower than the fastest time from FP1 (Button, 1:18.127). Fifteen drivers had posted times by that point, though Hamilton’s time would be shattered by his teammate, who posted the first lap into the 1:17s, a 1:17.961. Fifteen minutes into the hour and a half session and neither the Red Bulls nor Mercedes had set a time, though Hamilton (who took nearly a half second off of Button for the fastest lap) led Button, Kubica, Massa, and Barrichello as the fastest five with quite a lot of session left.

Mercedes power certainly dominated early on, and not just in the first session, with Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher leading, Massa sneaking Ferrari power in, then Liuzzi, Button, and Sutil rounding out the top seven, six of whom were running Mercedes engines. Kubica, Alonso, and Barrichello finished the fastest ten, twenty minutes into FP2. At that point, most of the drivers were back into the garage, making the adjustments that make it so difficult to use practice to determine race outcome. Jarno Trulli had yet to post even an installation lap in his Lotus, despite team technical director Mike Gascoyne noting on Twitter just before the session, “Jarno had to cut short his running in P1 for a minor mechanical problem but easily fixed and ready to go in P2.”

A half hour into the session and the Red Bulls had made quite the entrance, moving to second and fourth in the standings, with Rosberg (1:17.277), Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Schumacher, Massa, Liuzzi, Button, Sutil, and Kubica the fastest ten, all covered by just over a second. Both Rosberg and Vettel improved their times, but stayed in the same order, even as Alonso moved up to third fastest at the halfway point of FP2, with a different rear wing than that run by (seventh fastest at that point) teammate Massa, according to the Ferrari Twitter account. Alonso’s move into the top ten was the only change in timing order of the fastest ten for those fifteen minutes.

Thirty-five minutes left in the session and Vettel posted the fastest time to that time, pipping Rosberg by just one one-hundredth of a second. He then got an even faster second lap, becoming the first driver into the 1:16s for the weekend and posting a fastest time of 1:16.877. Webber had moved up into sixth, seven tenths behind his teammate but less than a half second behind Rosberg, who remained second fastest, with Alonso third, Hamilton, Webber, Schumacher, Massa, Liuzzi, Button, and Sutil the fastest ten with thirty minutes left to run. Massa soon outpaced his teammate, slotting into third and then fourth as Webber moved into third fastest, Massa on his second lap on the soft tires just after the thirty minute mark. Alonso then went second fastest, though still in the 1:17s, but then he bettered his own time, though still not Vettel’s, to drop into 1:16.963.

The final twenty minutes of the session were filled with attempts for faster times as teams tried out their qualifying settings after spending a few minutes in the garage for final settings. Vettel led Alonso, Rosberg, Webber, Massa, Sutil, Hamilton, Kubica, Schumacher, and Liuzzi as the top ten with just under twenty to go. Button was eleventh fastest as those who led most of the first session languished further down the timesheet nearing the end of the second. Jarno Trulli managed to get out for his first lap after the Lotus’ electrical problems with just fifteen minutes to run. He left only eight other drivers behind in the garage. Meanwhile, according again to Gascoyne, “Heikki on high fuel and worn rear options saying it is undriveable, calling him in.” Those teams at the back of the field were often those with the most interesting and informative Twitter feeds. Trulli immediately went faster than both Virgin Racing cars, into twenty-second.

Meanwhile, Vettel was complaining of severe graining and rear left tire degradation from his position as fastest. Both Ferraris were out on used soft tires for their final ten minute runs, though Massa soon had to return to the garage for new tires, having flatspotted his. He “went out again on hard tyres.” Vettel ended the session in the garage, having entered a few minutes before the end. Similarly, Alonso didn’t bother finishing his last, slower, lap. The session ended with the standings as they had been for some time.

Final Times for FP2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:16.877 32
2. Fernando Alonso 1:16.963 +.086 35
3. Nico Rosberg 1:17.151 +.274 34
4. Mark Webber 1:17.273 +.396 33
5. Felipe Massa 1:17.401 +.524 33
6. Adrian Sutil 1:17.415 +.538 28
7. Lewis Hamilton 1:17.522 +.645 29
8. Robert Kubica 1:17.529 +.653 36
9. Michael Schumacher 1:17.688 +.811 34
10. Tonio Liuzzi 1:17.903 +1.026 35
11. Jenson Button 1:17.961 +1.084 33
12. Rubens Barrichello 1:18.385 +1.508 27
13. Nico Hulkenberg 1:18.447 +1.570 41
14. Vitaly Petrov 1:18.582 +1.705 40
15. Pedro de la Rosa 1:18.658 +1.781 34
16. Kamui Kobayashi 1:19.142 +2.265 38
17. Sebastien Buemi 1:19.168 +2.291 32
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:19.274 +2.397 41
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:19.969 +3.092 35
20. Karun Chandhok 1:20.879 +4.002 29
21. Bruno Senna 1:21.097 +4.220 31
22. Jarno Trulli 1:21.346 +4.469 11
23. Timo Glock 1:21.488 +4.611 25
24. Lucas di Grassi 1:21.577 +4.700 30

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