Button leads the way as McLaren strikes back


Ahead of today's second session the air temperature is 16 degrees C and the track temperature is 20 degrees. A strong breeze remains though it has got a little bit warmer, humidity is 65 percent. That said, moments before the start of the session a few spots of rain appear and some spectators don their pac-a-macs.

All the main drivers are back in their cars for this session which means Trulli, di Resta, and Alguersuari get their first runs. The Hispania duo are still hanging about waiting for something to happen, with rumours now circulating that a cooling problem is now at the heart of the F111's non-appearance.

Perez and Alguersuari are first out when the lights go green. The Mexican runs wide, suggesting that he too hasn't quite yet got to grips with the DRS.

Perez posts the first time of the afternoon, the Sauber driver crossing the line at 1:30.660, Buemi goes second ahead of Alguersuari and di Resta.

Vettel is told to use KERS urgently however, when asked if he should "use the wing" he is told "no". The German immediately goes second with a 31.085.

A 28.393 sees Alonso go quickest, as Buemi goes second and Sutil third. However, almost instantly, Schumacher (27.979) goes quickest and Button second.

Hamilton, currently eighth, goes quickest in S1 as Massa goes quickest in S2. The Brazilian crosses the line at 27.877 with the McLaren driver posting 27.056 moments later.

Button makes it a McLaren 1-2 with a 27.575, as Massa remains third ahead of Schumacher and Alonso.

Having gone quickest in the first two sectors, Rosberg loses time behind a Toro Rosso in S3 but is still able to post a 27.448 to go second. Elsewhere, Colin Kolles reveals that his drivers will probably do one installation lap in this session. Then again, the writing was on the wall some weeks ago.

Trulli goes off into the gravel but is able to continue. The Italian, who has completed just four laps, is currently 14s off the pace. Elsewhere, both Renaults in the top eight.

Vettel, currently sixteenth and 3.7s off the pace, complains of excessive vibration. A few spots of rain appear on the camera lens.

Button goes quickest, shortly after however, it is Schumacher who takes the top spot, the German crossing the line at 1:26.590.

On the stroke of half-time, Hamilton, having gone quickest in the first two sectors, consolidates third place with a 26.813.

It's: Schumacher, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Barrichello, Rosberg, Alguersuari, Massa, Petrov and Heidfeld.

Buemi is the latest driver to get it wrong and run wide, the Swiss currently eighth.

Other than Hispania, the other possible losers this weekend could be Virgin, currently both their drivers are outside the 107%.

Webber is the first driver to make the switch to the option (soft) tyre, the Australian immediately improving with a 26.940. Button, also on options, goes quickest in the first sector, finally crossing the line at 26.156 to go quickest.

Kobayashi gets spectacularly out of shape but keeps it all together. Elsewhere, Hamilton (option) goes quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 25.986. Webber improves with a 26.283. Button complains of understeer having gone quickest (25.854) even though he 'only' posted personal bests in each sector.

It's pretty much the usual suspects at the top of the timesheets, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes. Perez is also up there, as is Barrichello.

The final thirty minutes of the session sees the DRS in 'race mode' which means we are unlikely to see any significant improvements. There are times when it seems they are making this up as they go along.

In the Hispania garage Liuzzi looks very embarrassed by the whole thing. Just a few weeks ago he and several other drivers were saying how eager they were to get the drive. As we said at the time, turkeys looking forward to Christmas.

Ten minutes from the end of the session it begins to rain, not too heavily but enough to make a difference. The race mode has already 'killed off' any hope of improvements in the last half hour, this only compounds the situation.

With 2:25 on the clock Liuzzi heads down the pitlane in the Hispania F111. Thankfully, a mechanic remembers to remove the front jack at the last minute. After a sole installation lap, Liuzzi returns to the pits.

The session ends with Button quickest, ahead of Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Schumacher, Massa, Perez, Barrichello and Rosberg.

Alguersuari is eleventh, ahead of Petrov, Heidfeld, Buemi, Kobayashi, di Resta, Sutil, Maldonado, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and D'Ambrosio.

A low key session not helped by the weather. Let's hope that tomorrow things really begin to hot up.

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Published: 25/03/2011
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