Massa sets "incredible" pace in FP2

12/04/2013
NEWS STORY

Ahead of today's second free practice session the air temperature is 21 degrees C, while the track temperature is 32 degrees.

2012 winner Nico Rosberg headed a Mercedes 1-2 this morning, while Mark Webber took third just ahead of his bestest buddy Sebastian.

No big surprises or indeed shocks, though Sergio Perez was left red faced after carrying too much speed as he entered the pitlane at the very end of the session, damaging his nose as he headed straight into the barrier.

The dusty track surface caught out a number of drivers this morning, Turns 9 and 14 proving particularly tricky.

The lights go green and shortly after Esteban Gutierrez gets things underway. He is followed by Vergne, Chilton and Bianchi. Charles Pic is getting his first taste of the track having handed his car over to Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua this morning.

Gutierrez posts 1:41.876 but this is immediately beaten by Vergne who crosses the line at 40.951. After just a few moments there are already 18 drivers on track.

Grosjean and Van der Garde almo0st collide as the Caterham driver appears to lose the rear under braking.

At the top of the timesheets its business as usual as Rosberg heads Hamilton. Elsewhere, Chilton has stopped at T5 his session seemingly over.

Webber and Vettel are both on track, the pair trading fastest sector times on their way to second (Webber - 37.709) and fourth (Vettel - 38.591).

More problems for Perez who goes off at T7, the Mexican rejoining the track after a long track through the gravel. "I had a moment, I'm coming back to the pits," he tells his crew. Replay shows it to be quite a big "moment", the McLaren driver losing the car at a fairly substantial speed, destroying the tyres and clouting the wall for good measure.

Pace-setter Rosberg ups the ante, going quickest in all three sectors as he improves from 37.463 to 36.730. Teammate, Hamilton, goes quickest in S1 before losing a heap of time in the second sector.

Sixteen minutes into the session, all but Pic, Alonso and Bottas have been out.

Van der Garde runs wide at T2, the Caterham driver appearing overly aggressive.

On his first flying lap, Alonso can only manage 47.412, to go twentieth, subsequently improving to third with a 37.298… exactly the same time as Hamilton.

As Chilton arrives back in the pits, Marussia reveals that he "stopped out on track due to an engine protection 'kill' kicking in". Adding that they "won't know why til we get the car back but oil pressure possibility".

Webber and Vergne are the first to switch to the option (soft) rubber, followed by Ricciardo. The Red Bull driver subsequently goes quickest (36.092) however he is not quickest in all three sectors only the first and second.

Ricciardo improves to fourth and Vergne seventh, the option runners immediately making their mark.

Rosberg, clearly the man of the day, switches to the softer rubber, as does Hulkenberg.

The Mercedes driver immediately goes quickest in S1 but fails to maintain the pace in S2. He's comfortably quickest in S3 also, crossing the line at 35.819.

As Hulkenberg gets held up behind the Mercedes duo, the German particularly unhappy with Rosberg, Bottas remains the only driver yet to make an appearance.

Although quickest in S1, Hamilton (softs) loses time in the following sectors and doesn't improve. At the same time Hulkenberg complains about the "bloody Mercedes" that won't "get out of the way".

Bianchi (soft) goes eleventh, 2.9s off Rosberg's pace. Currently the Marussia driver is ahead of the Lotus duo and the Force Indias. Close up of Grosjean shows the Lotus to be very unstable.

Vettel posts PBs in all three sectors, crossing the line at 36.791, almost a second off the pace, to go fourth. Clearly suffering understeer, it appears he couldn't get the tyres to last the full lap.

Maldonado runs wide at T1, not exactly what his tyres needed. In the Williams garage Suzie Wolff looks unimpressed.

On softs, Massa goes quickest in S1 and again in S2. At the line the Brazilian posts 35.340 to go quickest, despite losing time in S3.

At 'half-time', it's: Massa, Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Gutierrez, Ricciardo, Alonso, Vergne and Hulkenberg.

The Lotus duo are on track, both on the soft rubber. Raikkonen immediately improves from fifteenth to second with a 35.492, just 0.152s down on Massa. Grosjean abandons his lap and consequently his tyres are not at their best for the next, as borne out by the 36.963 he subsequently posts.

With 38:40 on the clock, Bottas is finally on rack. Elsewhere, Alonso goes third, albeit 0.415s off his teammate's pace.

Perez is back on track also, his car repaired following its earlier excursion(s).

As is the norm, the drivers now concentrate on longer runs on the softer rubber with an eye to Sunday's opening stint.

As Bottas goes eighteenth (38.547), Raikkonen runs wide at T9 and Vettel locks up at T14. Shortly after the German locks-up again, this time at T6.

Raikkonen complains of "front-left graining", the TV cameras showing this to be the understatement of the decade.

Now on softs, Bottas posts PBs in the first two sectors but fails to improve on sixteenth following a poor final sector. Had his tyres also gone off before the end of the lap? The amount of rubber littering the track certainly suggests so.

On the prime rubber, Massa is told by engineer Rob Smedley that his pace is "incredible". Teammate Alonso is currently running on the option rubber.

"Delamination front-left," complains Button as he heads into the pitlane. As he heads out again, the cameras show him having a massive lock-up in T1 just a little earlier.

"If this was the race you'd be doing the fastest lap," Massa is advised, "and on less than good tyres". Alonso, with less laps and on softs is slower than the Brazilian.

As Button is pushed into his garage and the cameras pick up Christian Horner with his head in his hands, Chilton returns to the track, his car seemingly repaired. Or not! The English youngster pulls off to the side of the track at T13.

With 2:50 on the clock, all but Perez, Gutierrez, Bianchi, Chilton and Van der Garde are on track.

The session ends with Massa quickest, ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso, Rosberg, Webber, Button, Hamilton, Sutil, di Resta and Vettel.

Perez is eleventh ahead of Grosjean, Gutierrez, Ricciardo, Vergne, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Bianchi, Van der Garde, Pic and Chilton.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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Published: 12/04/2013
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