F1 Spain FP2 Results & Report: Webber Leads Again, Hamilton Splits the Bulls

What Happens When Times Close Back Up

9:42am EST — Mark Webber (1:22.470) was fastest in the Friday afternoon practice session for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix, holding off a mid-session charge from Lewis Hamilton to keep his position at the top of the timesheets by .039s. Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso rounded out the fastest five. The times from the frontrunners were so quick that at least the slowest four drivers were not within 107% of Webber’s time.

It was Webber (1:25.142) who led the morning practice session over Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso, and Perez as the fastest five. Webber was a full second quicker than his teammate with a time he set before the session was half over. Most of the teams spent the session testing and choosing upgrades as the F1 circus returned to Europe for the first time all season. Only Maldonado had a sticky session, sliding into a gravel trap as Sir Frank Williams watched from the garage. He was unhurt and the car simply needed a tow back to the garage.

Alguersuari was first out at home for the second Friday practice in Barcelona, quickly followed by D’Ambrosio and Kobayashi. Those three soon set the first times, with Alguersuari (1:29.858) quickest early on. Despite much jockeying for early position, Massa’s (1:27.056) first fast lap put him on top, only to be replaced by teammate Alonso (1:25.707), with a time that was faster than everyone but Webber in the morning practice. Just ten minutes into the ninety minute session, Alonso led Massa, Heidfeld, Kobayashi, Alguersuari, Barrichello, Perez, Maldonado, and Rosberg as the top ten. Only Button, Vettel, di Resta, and Hamilton had yet to set a time.

Alonso remained at the top and improved his time (1:25.445), while Button slid into second on his first quick lap. Further down the order, Webber and Vettel were only seventeenth and eighteenth fastest, while Hamilton’s first quick lap put him only twentieth. Vettel moved up to tenth, though the session was still in its earliest stages. Hamilton (1:25.236) was soon quickest as the times continued to drop and the order changed around, twenty minutes into FP2. He soon had a slide through Turn 8. A few minutes later, Maldonado was the first driver onto the soft tires, moving into fourth, then third fastest.

1 Hour Remaining:
Hamilton still led thirty minutes into the session, followed by Alonso, Maldonado, Button, Petrov, Alguersuari, Massa, Heidfeld, Perez, and Barrichello as the top ten. All twenty-four drivers had set a time, but Kovalainen, Liuzzi, and Karthikeyan would be outside a hypothetical 107%. Though both Red Bulls were farther down the order than one might expect, both were on longer runs rather than shorter, fast laps.

Petrov (1:24.786) was next to be quickest overall, on the softer tires, taking nearly a half second off Hamilton’s time. As the session approached halfway, Vettel (1:22.826) went fastest, with Heidfeld slotting into second, still a second and a half slower than the reigning champion. Petrov, Alonso, Hamilton, Alguersuari, Button, Maldonado, Perez, and Massa completed the top ten. Vettel’s next lap was infinitesimally slower than his first super-quick one. That time would disqualify all times from sixteenth (di Resta) to twenty-fourth, if the 107% rule were applied. Webber (1:22.470) was soon again faster than his teammate, taking three tenths off Vettel’s time.

Massa made things a bit more exciting, sliding off and through the gravel, having oddly lost the rear and barely kept his Ferrari out of the tire barrier at Turn 5. He continued on, leaving gravel strewn behind him. Meanwhile, Rosberg and Schumacher were on their way nearer the top, going third and fourth fastest, respectively. They did not remain there long, though, with Button moving up to third on the softer tires. Kobayashi was also on the move, going sixth fastest while most of the field headed back to the garages for the final third of practice. According to Williams, in a radio message to Barrichello, the softer tires are worth two seconds.

30 Minutes Remaining:
Webber still led Vettel, with Button, Rosberg, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Heidfeld, Perez, Petrov, and Hamilton as the top ten, with Alonso havign dropped down to eleventh. On the soft tires, Hamilton was second fastest, and just about four hundredths slower than Webber’s time. Soon thereafter, Alonso was up to fifth on the softer tires. Meanwhile, Massa was having issues whilst on the throttle, with understeer at Turns 1, 3, and 9. Ferrari commented, “Fernando came in, just few seconds after Felipe. Not a very good run on softs in terms of lap time,” on Twitter.

Most drivers appeared to be beginning longer runs to the end of the session with fifteen minutes left. Webber still led with the same quick time (1:22.470), followed by Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Schumacher, Massa, Kobayashi, Heidfeld. Soon thereafter, Karthikeyan slid through the gravel at Turn 4 and caused a local yellow flag, only to continue on. The traffic was quite thick in the closing minutes of the session, as nearly all drivers were circulating on both hard and soft tires and with varying setups. Some of the leaders simply ended their session early while others were stuck behind much slower cars.

Final Times for FP2, Spanish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:22.470 35
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:22.509 +0.039 27
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:22.826 +0.356 37
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.188 +0.718 32
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:23.568 +1.098 34
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:23.586 +1.116 35
7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:23.981 +1.511 30
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.278 +1.808 30
9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:24.290 +1.820 33
10. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:24.366 +1.896 31
11. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:24.483 +2.013 38
12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:24.786 +2.316 43
13. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:25.296 +2.826 33
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:25.303 +2.833 38
15. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:25.457 +2.987 34
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:25.603 +3.133 43
17. Paul di Resta Force India 1:26.073 +3.603 32
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:26.417 +3.947 37
19. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:27.123 +4.653 20
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:27.189 +4.719 34
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:28.036 +5.566 36
22. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:28.062 +5.592 28
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:29.469 +6.999 28
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:29.476 +7.006 31

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