Clouds remained over Ile Notre Dame, but the rain stopped and Formula 1 cars were unleashed in anger around Circuit Gilles Villeneueve for the second free practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, and after a busy 90 minutes Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari ended the day fastest of all.
Just before the hour mark Alonso emerged from the pits with the red branded Pirelli super soft tyres and scorched around in 1:14.818 to nab top spot on the timing screens where he remained until the session ended. The time was over six seconds up on the best set in the rain affected morning session and almost half a second up on last year’s top FP2 time set in similar overcast conditions.
The Spaniard pounded out the most laps (48) in the process, and was also one of the few who tested the new (unmarked) tyre compound which Pirelli is controversially looking to introduce at Silverstone.
His Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was sixth, having also tried out the new compound tyres and actually topped the timing screens for a few minutes while using them.
The Maranello squad summed up their day on Twitter, “A good long run pace for the two F138s. An intense and positive Friday of practice comes to an end.”
Lewis Hamilton was second fastest, a mere 0.012 off Alonso’s best, with the Mercedes showing strong short-stint pace and apparently capable of getting the super-soft tyres to work from the first flying lap.
Hamilton spoke to the BBC afterwards, “It was OK, it was a normal day. It’s good that it dried up. The harder tyre seems to be a bit [more difficult] to get temperature into it, but otherwise we don’t seem to have too much degradation or graining.”
Monaco winner Nico Rosberg, in the other Silver Arrow, finished the day fifth fastest.
On the other side of the coin the Lotus drivers appeared to struggle to generate heat in their front tyres, taking a couple of laps to get into their optimum zone before the true pace emerged. Romain Grosjean appeared to have a better handle on the situation than teammate Kimi Raikkonen, the Frenchman ending the day third fastest and half a second up on the Finn who was 11th. (GP247)
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Mark Webber was the better of the Red Bull pair, setting the fourth best time with teammate Sebastian Vettel in seventh, but the world champion did lose a chunk of time in traffic during his hot lap attempts.
Webber said, “I think we were pretty strong in both wet and dry conditions. In the wet on inters, I felt comfortable straight away. We did everything we could do in P2, which was to look at the prototype tyre and then focus efforts on this weekend’s grand prix. It’s a tricky venue, a lot of people going off, but in end we got the maximum out of the session that we could.”
After seeing his Force India teammate top the morning stanza, Adrian Sutil reversed the scenario by going quicker of the two in the afternoon, setting the eighth fastest time, with Paul Di Resta 13th.
In the McLaren camp it was business as usual – a struggle – as the Woking based squad seems incapable of lifting itself out of the slump it has been in since the season kicked off in Melbourne. Jenson Button admitted before the first engine fired up in Montreal that rain would be their only hope of a strong result. In the dry, the 2011 winner in Canada, was ninth. Teammate Sergio Perez ended up 12th on the timing sheets.
Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten in the Toro Rosso.
A glance at the time sheets shows that the contest for the top spots is extremely tight, with less than half a second separating the top seven drivers and a tad over a second covering the top 13 – guaranteeing that this will be another intriguing edition of the 2013 F1 World Championship. (GP247)
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Canadian Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 7 June 2013
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:15.212||0.394||46|
|7||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:15.280||0.462||41|
|8||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.396||0.578||43|
|13||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.855||1.037||22|
|22||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:18.392||3.574||39|