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2012-10-05 10:18

FASTEST ON FRIDAY: Mark Webber was the faster of the two Red Bulls in Friday's second free practice session at Suzuka. Team mate Sebastian Vettel was third.

SUZUKA, Japan - Red Bull's Mark Webber led the Japanese Grand Prix's closely fought second free practice session on Friday, October 5, 2012 as retirement-bound Michael Schumacher escaped unhurt after a late crash.

The 35-year-old Australian clocked a best lap of one minute and 32.493 seconds as he outpaced nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren by two-tenths of a second.

RED BULL SANDWICH


Hamilton, who will leave McLaren for Mercedes next season, was sandwiched between Red Bull men as defending champion Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, a further tenth of a second adrift.

Another German, Nico Hulkenberg, also impressed by securing fourth place for the Force India team ahead of fifth-placed championship leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was sixth for Lotus ahead of Jenson Button in the second McLaren. Button won the race in 2011 and set the pace in Friday morning's opening practice session.

Brazilians Bruno Senna of Williams and Felipe Massa of Ferrari were eighth and ninth respectively ahead of seven-time world champion Schumacher, 43, who announced his return to retirement on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

Schumacher and Force India's Paul di Resta both came to grief but were uninjured in similar mishaps at the entry to the Spoon curve. Di Resta's mistake caused the session to be red-flagged after only six minutes.

Di Resta explained: "That was completely down to me. I was a bit ambitious a bit too early. It's frustrating because I was six-tenths up and Kimi (Raikkonen) was in my way, but the responsibility was mine."

Schumacher's accident came in the closing minutes and did not delay the action. The drivers began the session on hard tyres but switched to softer tyres as rubber was laid down on the circuit.

First free practice results


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Read more on:    red bull  |  mark webber  |  japan  |  formula 1

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