F1 Turkey FP2 Results & Report: Button to the Top In Dry Conditions After Dismal Morning


What Happens When Rookies & Multi-Apex Turns Don’t Mix

8:44am EST — Jenson Button (1:26.456) was fastest in Friday’s dry afternoon practice session for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix, leading a top four of Mercedes powered cars. He was less than a tenth quicker than Nico Rosberg, with Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, and Mark Webber the fastest five. Only Pastor Maldonado had a spin that resulted in damage to his car, capping a day of debris for the rookie. Sebastian Vettel did not post a single lap, with his Red Bull crew busy fixing damage from a morning crash. Though Felipe Massa was sixth fastest for Ferrari, teammate Fernando Alonso’s afternoon was not so pleasant with a spin, stopping on the track, and a hydraulic issue that kept him stuck in the garage.

The Friday morning practice was a wet affair that caught a few teams and drivers off guard, notably McLaren, who did not manage more than a couple of installation laps and a time well off the pace for either Button or Hamilton. Meanwhile, Vettel caused plenty of work for his crew, dropping his right rear tire a bit too far onto the kerb and barely into the grass in Turn 8, slinging his car across the track and into the barrier, damaging the right side suspension. He was only eleventh fastest at the time and would finish the session seventeenth. Teammate Webber was only eleventh fastest overall while the quickest drivers in the morning’s rain were Alonso, Rosberg, Schumacher, Heidfeld, and Petrov.

The sun began to shine about fifteen minutes before the second session began Friday afternoon, leaving the track drying out and many teams planning to start the session on slick tires. Vettel was “running around in jeans, no overalls 10 mins before session,” according to the BBC’s Lee McKenzie on Twitter, leading one to believe that the Red Bull driver was unlikely to run for at least most of the session. Similarly, Maldonado would be late in starting, with his Williams still requiring work as the session began. D’Ambrosio was the first driver out of the garage and onto the track.

There was a very clear dry line, but off of it the circuit still looked quite damp. Drivers began posting times straight away, with Buemi soon leading the way with a time of 1:33.022. He was followed by Alguersuari, Karthikeyan, Trulli, Rosberg, and D’Ambrosio. Times came fast and furious, with Hamilton fastest with his first timed lap, only to be overtaken by Massa, then Buemi.

Ten minutes into the session and many drivers had led the charts. Hamilton was quickest (1:29.030), leading Petrov, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Buemi, Alguersuari, Barrichello, and di Resta as the fastest ten, though that order would change quickly and often. Webber’s first lap was good enough for thirteenth fastest, while Schumacher, Button, and Perez had not yet set a time, though neither Vettel nor Maldonado had left their repairs. Button joined Hamilton as second fastest, then bettered his teammate’s time, only to have Hamilton go faster yet for a 1:28.345. In comparison, last year’s race fastest lap was a 1:29.165 by Petrov. Meanwhile, the McLaren drivers were making up for the first session, leading the rest of the field by a second.

Button soon beat his teammate’s time, dropping the fastest lap to a 1:28.222, though third fastest Barrichello kept pace and the rest of the field a second off the McLarens. Most of the drivers were back into the garage after twenty minutes of running, and only Schumacher had been onto the track but not set a time. Mercedes GP asserted itself one third of the way through the ninety minutes session, with Rosberg, then Schumacher taking over the top of the timesheets just before the hour remaining mark. Though they were quickest, Schumacher (1:28.165 and exactly one second faster than Petrov’s fast lap from the 2010 GP) was only .057s faster than teammate Rosberg, who was only .007s faster than Button. Hamilton, Petrov, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Buemi, Massa, and Kobayashi completed the fastest ten, with Alonso eleventh and Webber sixteenth. Maldonado was in his Williams and appeared nearly ready to join the session.

Maldonado had another incident at Turn 8, losing the rear, and while he did not quickly save the spin, he did barely manage to keep his Williams from hitting the barrier and continued on. Massa was soon fastest (1:27.959) after a series of laps with a fast sector or two before putting a single lap together. His teammate was in the garage and only sixteenth fastest with a hydraulic issue, according to Autosport on Twitter. Petrov quickly took the session fast lap from Massa, with Schumacher slotting into second fastest.

Rosberg (1:27.352) led at the halfway point, with Petrov, Schumacher, Massa, Button, Hamilton, Barrichello, Buemi, Heidfeld, and Perez the top ten. Alonso was sixteenth fastest, with Webber a second and a half slower in seventeenth. Soon, Roberg bettered his own time twice, and becoming the first driver into the 1:26s with a 1:26.961. Webber’s first really fast lap came moments later and put him second fastest, three tenths slower than Rosberg.

A few minutes later, Alonso had a spin at Turn 6, only get stuck at pit in, needing a push from marshals into the pit lane and a rescue from his crew to get back into the garage. At the same time, Ferrari was undertaking a visit to scrutineering, seemingly checking on the flexiness on their new front wing and it’s adherence to the rules, according to SPEED’s Will Buxton. With thirty minutes remaining, Rosberg still led, with Hamilton, Schumacher, Webber, Petrov, Perez, Massa, Buemi, Button, and Heidfeld the fastest ten. Button, on a fast lap on soft tires, was soon fastest of all with a 1:26.465. Rosberg countered by gaining back most but not quite all of the half second Button had on him. The German remained second fastest.

Soon thereafter, Alonso was back out and moving up to eleventh fastest. In some braking analysis shown on the world feed, nearly every team but Renault had bouncy, porpoising issues under braking. McLaren seemed to get the worst of it, with Mercedes a close second. Button still led with fifteen minutes remaining, with Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, Webber, Massa, Petrov, di Resta, Perez, and Sutil the top ten, though cars were streaming out of the the pit lane to run in the final minutes of the session.

Maldonado’s bad day continued, as he spun off after catching a wheel on the wet grass and bounced the nose off a tire barrier with just over ten minutes remaining. Soon thereafter, Schumacher had his own spin, at Turn 11, after jinking to the left to avoid a diving Force India. The top ten remained unchanged as most drivers were on longer runs to end the session.

Final Times for FP2, Turkish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.456 26
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:26.521 +0.065 29
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:27.033 +0.577 31
4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:27.063 +0.607 21
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:27.149 +0.693 31
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:27.340 +0.884 37
7. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:27.517 +1.061 37
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1:27.725 +1.269 37
9. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:27.844 +1.388 32
10. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:28.052 +1.596 37
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:28.069 +1.613 27
12. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:28.153 +1.697 36
13. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:28.475 +2.019 35
14. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:28.765 +2.309 32
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:28.828 +2.372 19
16. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:28.946 +2.490 20
17. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:29.409 +2.953 39
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:29.637 +3.181 27
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:30.281 +3.825 37
20. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:31.035 +4.579 28
21. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:31.221 +4.765 22
22. Narian Karthikeyan HRT 1:31.320 +4.864 29
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:31.989 +5.533 30
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull N/T N/T N/T
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