Austin Practice 2: Same old story as Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2

Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP2

Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP2

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull restored what is now the expected pecking order in Formula 1 by ending the second Free Practice session of the United States Grand Prix fastest of all, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Vettel who had a somewhat subdued morning session, bounced back to set the day’s best time of 1:37.305, which was 0.115 of a second up on  teammate Mark Webber. This year’s time compares to Vettel’s best of 1:37.718 in FP2 last year.

Ominously for their rivals, the Red Bull duo looked even more potent in race mode, with Vettel apparently one second faster than anyone, except for Webber who was a few tenths adrift on race pace.

Best of the rest were the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who were third and fourth respectively, albeit half a second down on the top time. Hamilton was wearing a special maroon coloured USA edition helmet livery paying tribute to musical legend Michael Jackson.

Nico Rosberg was third fastest in FP2

Nico Rosberg was third fastest in FP2

It was superb day for Heikki Kovalainen on his return to Formula 1 with a top team, as he ended the day fifth fastest, beating Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean by 0.181 of a second. Although the Finn appeared to have the edge on hot lap pace, Grosjean looked at tad stronger in race trim. He ended the day eighth quickest.

Kovalainen, on duty in place of hospitalised Kimi Raikkonen, took remarkably little time to adapt to a cockpit he had never seen before and vindicated the team’s decision to use him for the last two races of 2013. He would qualify for drive of the day if there were such an accolade, while Lotus hailed the effort as ‘brilliant’.

Splitting the two black and gold cars on the timing screens were the Saubers of Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg in sixth and seventh respectively. The young Mexicanwas fastest of the Ferrari-powered brigade at what he calls his ‘home’ race.

Jenson Button was ninth fastest in his McLaren, with teammate Sergio Perez 12th in the 90 minutes session. Button was the last of the drivers within a second of Vettel’s chart topping best.

In the morning session Fernando Alonso was fastest, but the Ferrari driver was only good for tenth in FP2, with teammate Felipe Massa 12th on the timing sheets.

Subbed by AJN.

Heikki Kovalainen impressive on his debut for Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen impressive on his debut for Lotus

United States Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 16 November 2013

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.305 35
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.420 0.115 37
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.785 0.480 38
4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.958 0.653 38
5 7 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:38.073 0.768 41
6 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.229 0.924 40
7 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.254 0.949 40
8 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:38.255 0.950 33
9 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.269 0.964 34
10 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.461 1.156 33
11 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:38.719 1.414 31
12 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:38.938 1.633 37
13 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.941 1.636 31
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:39.246 1.941 28
15 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:39.410 2.105 34
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.512 2.207 37
17 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:39.579 2.274 36
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:39.784 2.479 33
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:40.376 3.071 39
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.563 3.258 35
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:46.226 8.921 31
22 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:47.009 9.704 20

  • Nokidemus

    Valsecchi, still crying? Think you could have beaten Crashjean?

  • McLarenfan

    Heikki Kovalainen impressive lets hope tomorrow he is still flying.
    Jenson proving he is the better McLaren shame about the overtake even though when you look at it Kvyat slowed rapidly and Button wasn’t in race mode he was cruising.

  • bobw

    Nokidemus – crashjean? Really…try and give up the hate. Grosjean has done really well this year. And I am not even a Lotus fan.