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Button leads the way in FP2

NEWS STORY
11/05/2012

Ahead of today's second practice session, the air temperature is 29 degrees C, while the track temperature is 42 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

Whilst the Ferrari isn't running too many updates, Fernando Alonso posted the fastest lap this morning, though it was noticeable that (Bahrain winner) looked remarkably comfortable in the Red Bull.

Kamui Kobayashi was third quickest, and while Jenson Button was fourth, both McLaren drivers are clearly unhappy, both complaining about understeer.

Schumacher was the best placed Mercedes driver while both Lotus drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, are very much on the pace and looking confident.

While Bottas, Clos, Bianchi and Rossi were on duty this morning, this afternoon the regular drivers - Senna, Karthikeyan, di Resta and Kovalainen - are back in their cockpits.

We didn't see the soft (option) tyres this morning but that will change this afternoon as drivers look ahead to tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.

The lights go green but it is a couple of minutes before an engine fires up, such is the familiarity with this track. Eventually, it is Vergne who breaks the deadlock. He is subsequently joined by Ricciardo, Grosjean, Petrov, Senna and Perez. In fact, in no time at all there are 16 drivers on track.

Vergne posts a 27.146 but this is quickly beaten by his Toro Rosso teammate who crosses the line at 26.622.

As Perez goes quickest (25.532) and Vergne second, Button goes eighth overall (29.668), only to be demoted when Vettel shoots straight to the top of the sheets with a 25.000. The guy means business.

A 25.123 sees Hamilton go second, as more and more drivers pour on to the track. Indeed, all but Hulkenberg and the HRTs are on track.

Schumacher goes quickest with a 24.859 as Button continues to complain about understeer in S2, exactly the same complaint as his teammate in FP1. Elsewhere, Webber goes fourth with a 25.118.

Alonso really sliding the Ferrari around, as Schumacher goes quickest in S1. Replay showing the Ferrari really taking a pounding from the kerbs.

"Unbelievable understeer," complains Button, his brief stop for adjustments clearly not having done the trick. The team has been running its new high nose and also the old nose, but neither driver appears to be happy with either.

Alonso takes the top spot with a 24.739 as teammate Massa posts 25.011 to go fourth. No significant upgrades for Ferrari here but whatever work they've been doing on the car seems to be paying off.

The Lotus duo, now on their second run, ran the new front wings on their previous run.

One of the first to switch to the options, Vergne goes quickest with a 24.733, Senna, Ricciardo and Vettel also on the softer rubber.

Ricciardo improves to third (24.769) but all attention is on Vettel. At the first split the German is 0.249s up on Vergne, while at the second it's 0.816. The world champion crosses the line at 23.563 to go quickest, over a second quicker than Vergne's pace-setter.

A typically aggressive Kobayashi (softs) goes second, the Sauber driver crossing the line at 24.214, 0.651s down on Vettel.

In the HRT garage Karthikeyan looking very frustrated as the mechanics work on hi car - which is in pieces. According to the Spanish outfit it is an electrical issue.

Maldonado goes third with a 24.468 as Hamilton begins his first flying lap on the softer rubber. The Englishman is quickest in S1, while at the second split he is 0.260s off the pace - this being the sector where he and his teammate are struggling. At the line it's 24.027 which is 'only' good enough for second, 0.464s off Vettel's best.

Webber, now on softs, goes quickest in S1, as Alonso, Massa and Schumacher persist with the harder rubber. Button has also yet to make the switch. Webber goes third with a 24.065.

Now on the softer rubber Button goes quickest in S1, however, again, like his teammate, he loses ground in S2. Nonetheless, a strong final sector (he's quickest) sees him go quickest overall, crossing the line at 23.399, 0.164s quicker than Vettel. Hamilton feels that his problem might be about gearing, feeling the ratios are "way too long".

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