Practice 2: Vettel fastest as McLaren chase

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7. Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday 15 April 2011.

Sebastian Vettel was fastest of all in the Red Bull RB7 in the second practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend in Shanghai

Apr.15 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel owned day one in Shanghai after finishing top of the timing sheets at the end of the second free practice of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, but both McLaren’s were not far off the world champion’s best time.

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday 15 April 2011.

Sebastian Vettel with Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner

Shortly after the hour mark, in the session, Vettel on Pirelli soft set the quickest time of the day. The world champion has had a hassle free opening day and just seems to be on another level – even at this early stage of the weekend – which prompts the question: who can stop  Vettel this weekend?

Earlier the McLaren pair were also out on softs and thrashing the MP4-26 around with Lewis Hamilton ending second quickest and only 0.166 seconds adrift of Vettel’s best and  Jenson Button next best less than a quarter second down on the top time. McLaren again the best of the rest.

Biggest surprise of the session was the new found pace of the Mercedes MGP-W02 with Nico Rosberg ending fourth fastest and Michael Schumacher fifth on the timing screens – both within striking distance of the top pace on the day.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26. Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday 15 April 2011.

Lewis Hamilton ended the first day in China second best

Felipe Massa was sixth fastest as Ferrari tried a host of updates on the opening day with no apparent inroad into the gap with the pace setter as Massa ended sixth fastest but almost 0.819 seconds down on Vettel.

His team mate Fernando Alonso had hydraulics issues with his Ferrari 150 Italia and ended the session down in fourteenth, the Spaniard venting his frustration with a silly chop on Narain Karthikeyan’s slow HRT  late on in the session.

After sitting out the first practice for Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil was back in the cockpit of the Force India VJM04 and ended the session seventh best while his luckless team mate Paul di Resta missed the entire session due to a fuel pressure problem.

Nick Heidfeld's damaged Renault is returned to the paddock

Nick Heidfeld's damaged Renault is returned to the paddock

After his sensational comeback in Australia, Nick Heidfeld has shown strong pace in Shanghai but did himself no favours with a couple of excursions on the day. Again he crashed out in the final session of the day, a mistake similar to the one he made in the morning session. Nevertheless the German ended the day eighth fastest ahead of team mate Vitaly Petrov who was ninth best.

Tenth was Mark Webber who finished the day 1.639 seconds down on his pace setting Red Bull team mate but there were no apparent problems with the Australian during the session.

Kamui Kobayashi was best of the Sauber pair, ending the session 11th  with Sergio Perez 17th.

Desperate to finish a Grand Prix for the first time in his career is rookie Pastor Maldonado who showed his intent by racking up 37 laps in the Williams, more than any other driver in the session. The Venezuelan ended 12 fastest with his team mate Rubens Barrichello 16th.

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) F111. Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday 15 April 2011.

Narain Karthikeyan had a good second session

Sebastien Buemi was fastest of the feuding Toro Rosso drivers with the 13th fastest time of the day compared to Jaime Alguersuari 15th on the timing sheets.

Lotus pair Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were 18th and 19th respectively with Perez a mere half second faster.

Another big surprise was Narain Karthikeyan setting the 20th best time with 25 laps to his credit in the HRT. Team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi managed only three laps ending 21st, however the Spanish team will be buoyed by the fact that they were better than Virgin Racing whose drivers Jerome D’Ambrosio and Timo Glock were 22nd and 23rd fastest.

Friday, 15 April – Practice 2 Results

P Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.688 34
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:37.854 0.166 22
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.935 0.247 31
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:37.943 0.255 34
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:38.105 0.417 29
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:38.507 0.819 36
7 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:38.735 1.047 35
8 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:38.805 1.117 26
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:38.859 1.171 31
10 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:39.327 1.639 33
11 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:39.538 1.850 33
12 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:39.667 1.979 37
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:39.771 2.083 18
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:39.779 2.091 17
15 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:39.828 2.140 25
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:39.925 2.237 32
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:39.953 2.265 30
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:40.476 2.788 30
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:41.482 3.794 32
20 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:42.902 5.214 25
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1:43.850 6.162 3
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:44.008 6.320 35
23 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:44.747 7.059 12
24 Paul di Resta Force India No time 0