Vettel takes Spanish Session 2

2013-05-10 16:17

BARCELONA, Spain - Triple World champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap in 2013 Spanish F1 GP practice on Friday with Ferrari's local favourite Fernando Alonso a close second to split the Red Bull drivers.

With sunshine replacing the morning's drizzle, when Alonso was top of the time sheets with a largely meaningless lap of 1min25.252 on a drying track, Vettel produced a quickest time of 1min22.808.

Alonso was second, 0.017 slower, with Australian Mark Webber third with 1min22.891.


Qualifying has been critical at the Circuit de Catalunya in the past, with 18 of 22 winners there to date starting on pole and all but one - Michael Schumacher from third in 1996 - from the front row of the grid.

McLaren's Jenson Button failed to set a lap time in the damp first session, with the team opting for caution in the knowledge that they have a limited number of spares for their new aerodynamic upgrade package.

The 2009 champion was 12th after lunch with a best effort of 1min24.306 while Mexican team mate Sergio Perez lapped in 1min24.854.

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael explained: "We've enough parts for two cars, but we're limited on spares, so we'd like to avoid crashing or going into gravel."

Plans to provide more track action in the first session by giving drivers an extra set of prototype long-lasting hard tyres were stymied by the weather, with leaden skies and drizzle replacing Friday's sunshine.

Felipe Massa was just behind his team mate on 1min25.455 in a Ferrari 1-2 in that session and was fifth in the afternoon with Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen - a previous winner in Barcelona with McLaren and Ferrari - fourth.


Vettel, the overall championship leader 10 points clear of Raikkonen after winning two of four races so far was 19th-quickest of the 22 cars in the morning after waiting until the track was drying before venturing out for a proper lap. Webber was 20th.

All teams have updates for the first race of the European season but former champions McLaren and Williams - 2012's winner with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado - have more riding on them than most after struggling in Asia and the Middle East.

Button, the 2009 World champion, has finished no higher than fifth so far this season after winning the final race of 2012 in Brazil with what was then deemed to be the fastest car.


McLaren, which brought out a significantly new car for 2013 instead of the more evolutionary approach favoured by others, have been working overtime to fix aerodynamic problems with the team using one of their two 'jokers' for the season so mechanics could break an overnight curfew.

Button before practice: "It looks nice. There's some really cool-looking little bits on the car but I don't think it's going to be enough to really fight right at the front.

"I think we will see an improvement so I hope that will help us understand the airflow of the car a little better.

"If we get a good correlation between this circuit and the wind tunnel, that's just as important as seeing an improved lap time this weekend."
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Times from first free practice
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min22.808
2 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min22.825
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min22.891
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min23.030
5 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min23.110
6 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min23.140
7 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min23.398
8 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min23.840
9 Jean Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min24.058
10 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min24.104
11 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min24.175
12 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min24.306
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min24.854
14 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min24.888
15 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min25.167
16 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min25.321
17 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min25.441
18 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min25.851
19 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min25.963
20 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min26.078
21 Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min26.930
22 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min26.970