F1 Suzuka FP2 Results & Full Report: Vettel Fastest Again with Webber, Kubica Behind


What Happens When Things Stay the Same

2:43am EST — Sebastian Vettel continued his dominance of Friday practice in the likely final bits of dry running before a forecast rainy Saturday, again leading teammate Mark Webber and followed by Robert Kubica. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa improved their Ferrari times from the first session to round out the fastest five. Jenson Button did nearly the entirety of McLaren’s legwork after Hamilton’s crash in the first session to post the sixth fastest time (Hamilton would only get eight minutes of running time and a thirteenth fastest lap time), with a quick Vitaly Petrov, then Michael Schumacher, Adrian Sutil, and Nico Hulkenberg the end of the top ten.

It was a Red Bull runaway in the first practice session, with Vettel (1:32.585) leading teammate Webber by less than a half-tenth of a second. Kubica was the closest challenger, a half second off Vettel, with Sutil and his perpetual fast times in Friday practice putting him fourth fastest and the first of a number of drivers a second off the fastest pace. Hamilton rounded out the fastest five with a time posted in the first half of the session and within nine running laps as a trip over the kerbs forced him into the tire barrier at Degner, damaging the left front suspension of his McLaren. Teammate Button was twelfth fastest at the end of the session, just slower than Massa, and faster than Alonso with the usual Ferrari mid-pack times for the first session. Barrichello and Hulkenberg continued the hopes of Williams with sixth and seventh fastest times, Schumacher, Heidfeld (continuing his replacement of Pedro de la Rosa at Sauber), and Rosberg rounding the top ten.

The second practice session began withAlguersuari again the first driver onto the circuit, followed by Kobayashi. The sky had gotten cloudier, but there was no forecast of rain until Saturday, when it is supposed to pour. Liuzzi and Vettel led a good portion of the field out for their installation laps and presumably more running times than posted in the first session. Hamilton was in the McLaren garage, waiting on the repairs to his damaged car. Times began to be posted less than five minutes into FP2, with Alguersuari, Liuzzi, and Kobayashi the first to do so, despite only seven drivers remaining in the garage. Heidfeld took fastest with a 1:35.053, over two seconds slower than his FP1 time, and three seconds slower than Vettel’s. Times continued to drop as the drivers got to the business of setting times and checking set-up. Hulkenberg was faster, then Kubica, then Alonso with a 1:33.159 and only eight minutes gone in the session. Both Renaults were quick this early in the session as well, with Petrov second, Hulkenberg, Kubica, and Barrichello rounding out the fastest five just ten minutes in. Soon thereafter Schumacher was second fastest, a tenth and a half off of Alonso’s time, which was a second faster than his time in the first practice and six tenths off Vettel’s from then. On his first proper run, Webber went straight to fastest with a 1:43.574, already faster than his and his teammate’s FP1 times. Vettel was third fastest on his first run, then fastest, by .073 on the next lap. He bettered his time again the next time around as most of the drivers were back in the garage.

One third of the way through the second practice session many of the cars were back out, though only four of the top ten were on the circuit. Vettel led Webber, Alonso, Petrov, Schumacher, Massa, Kubica, Hulkenberg, Button, and Barrichello as that fastest ten. Kubica went for a short stint through the gravel backwards at Dunlop, but managed to get it back onto the track. Hamilton had yet to join the fray, with mechanics still working on rebuilding. Things seemed to settle down a bit through the middle third of the session, with drivers and teams working on various set-ups, fuel loads, and keeping a thought for the forecast Saturday rain. Petrov was the first driver out on the softer tire, moving ahead of Alonso’s time, with Ferrari subsequently tweeting, “Time for soft tyres is getting closer…” At the session halfway point, Vettel still led Webber (by two tenths) with at 1:32.210, then Petrov, Alonso, Schumacher, Massa, Kubica, Hulkenberg, Button, and Barrichello the fastest ten. Hamilton had yet to leave the garage, though reporting from the pit suggested he would resume running with a half hour in the session.

Teams began switching to the softer tire, moving Sutil up through the field to fourth on “a qualifying simulation,” according to Force India on Twitter. Similarly, Massa jumped right up the order to third fastest on his first soft tire run. Alonso similarly moved up to fifth fastest on his softer tires, as Webber took fastest from Vettel, by a whopping three tenths with a 1:31.860. Massa was third fastest, nearly seven tenths slower than Webber, then Petrov and Alonso as the fastest five with a half hour to go. The top eight were all within a second of Webber, much closer than in the first session. Button finall moved into the top five with the fourth fastest time as Ferrari noted that “Not a perfect first lap for Fernando, who improved only by 3 tenths.” He soon moved up to fourth fastest, with Kubica faster by three tenths, after Vettel displaced Webber. Massa was slower than his teammate, but faster than Button, Petrov, Schumacher, Sutil, and Rosberg with twenty-five minutes left.

Five minutes later, Vettel had improved his lap time to 1:31.465 as most drivers were heading into their garages for last minutes changes as Hamilton finally climbed aboard his McLaren to possibly head out for a few laps. Hamilton had yet to go out when only fifteen minutes remained, as the Vettel still led Webber, Kubica, Alonso, then Massa, Button, Petrov, Schumacher, Sutil, and Hulkenberg, with the top four within a second of Vettel, and the top eleven (completed by Rosberg) a second and a half behind the Red Bull drivver. Kobayashi was another six tenths behind Rosberg in twelfth. Schumacher had his own gravel experience at Denger after going on the wrong side of the kerbs, though he, too, kept his car out of the tire barrier. Hamilton was finally out of the garage with eight and a half minutes, leaving only Sutil, Barrichello, and di Grassi the only men still there. Hamilton’s first time only took him to eighteenth, likely indicating a race heavy-fuel setup instead of a qualifying one, especially with rain indicated for Saturday, and the wind having picked up at Suzuka, the temperature dropping. Barrichello was the only driver not out with time in the session for a lap or two more. According to Williams on Twitter, “Rubens’ practice ended 10 mins early with an engine issue, mechanics investigating cause now.” The top twelve had yet to change from earlier as Hamilton moved up to thirteenth with time for one more lap, though he would not improve his position.

Final Times for FP2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:31.465 32
2. Mark Webber 1:31.860 +.395 29
3. Robert Kubica 1:32.200 +.735 32
4. Fernando Alonso 1:32.362 +.897 34
5. Felipe Massa 1:32.519 +1.054 35
6. Jenson Button 1:32.533 +1.068 28
7. Vitaly Petrov 1:32.703 +1.238 32
8. Michael Schumacher 1:32.831 +1.366 27
9. Adrian Sutil 1:32.842 +1.377 26
10. Nico Hulkenberg 1:32.851 +1.386 26
11. Nico Rosberg 1:32.880 +1. 415 26
12. Kamui Kobayashi 1:33.471 +2. 006 31
13. Lewis Hamilton 1:33.481 +2.016 8
14. Rubens Barrichello 1:33.564 +2.099 16
15. Nick Heidfeld 1:33.697 +2.232 33
16. Sebastien Buemi 1:34.005 +2.540 32
17. Jamie Alsguersuari 1:34.055 +2.590 37
18. Tonio Liuzzi 1:34.310 +2.845 33
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:36.095 +4.630 37
20. Jarno Trulli 1:36.333 +4.868 33
21. Lucas di Grassi 1:36.630 +5.165 28
22. Timo Glock 1:36.834 +5.369 28
23. Bruno Senna 1:37.352 +5.887 33
24. Sakon Yamamoto 1:37.831 +6.366 34
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1 Comment

  1. I missed this one! glad to know I can still rely on OASTD!

    Hope your well Vic.
    Nice new shot on twitter too. Part of the professional image now I assume? Just photoshop in some superbikes for a background!


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