Sebastian Vettel has reasserted his authority over proceedings after the second practice session ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, after the German ace finished ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. The Red Bull duo were followed by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, in a session dominated by the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
The Formula 1 teams’ and drivers’ reconvened around the Autodromo di Monza with perfect sunshine still bathing the circuit, as the second practice session ahead of the Italian Grand Prix got underway. As the numerous drivers’ prepared to retake to the circuit, it was confirmed that Mark Webber’s Red Bull had been struck with a KERS failure. This in turn required his mechanics to change his KERS battery pack, loosing him valuable time as the field gradually streamed out onto the track.
Max Chilton became the first driver to take to the circuit as the session got underway, and was quickly followed by former Champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. The British rookie proceeded to produce the fastest lap of the session with a 01:28.747, which was immediately smashed by Jenson Button with 01:27.108. The times continued to tumble throughout the opening minutes of the second session, as the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez all rose to the top with the latter producing a 01:26.700.
After several minutes of arduous waiting in the garage for his KERS battery to be changed, Mark Webber finally returned to the circuit to continue with his preparations for the weekend ahead. As the Australian driver circulated the track, Kimi Raikkonen returned to the top with a 01:25.725, as Jules Bianchi ran extensively wide at Turn 8 as he got to grips with the tricky circuit after making way for Rodolfo Gonzalez during practice one. Jean-Eric Vergne also ran slightly wide and onto the treacherous gravel at Turn 6, as reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel stormed to the top for Red Bull with a 01:25.038 ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel continued to improve at the top for Red Bull, eventually working his way down to a 01:24.453, as team-mate Mark Webber slotted neatly into 2nd position with a 01:25.253 creating a Red Bull 1-2 at the top despite the Australian driver’s initial KERS issue at the start of the session. As rigorous preparations ensued throughout the paddock, many drivers continued to make minor mistakes throughout the circuit as they pushed to the limits. Charles Pic almost lost the rear of his Caterham on the approach to Turn 1, which resulted in the Frenchman bouncing over the kerbs and cutting the opening chicane.
As the second practice session ensued, so did further mistakes. Jean-Eric Vergne ran wide at Turns 4 and 5, whereas the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg cut the first chicane after a minor error. Whilst many drivers continued to make minor errors throughout the lap, the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean managed to produce identical lap times of a 01:25.116 in 3rd and 4th place respectively. The Finn was very lucky to avoid what could well have been a large incident as the session progressed, as the 2007 World Champion ran extensively wide on the exit of the final corner, however he managed to maintain control of his Renault-powered Lotus E21 and continue circulating.
After missing out on the opening practice session, Jules Bianchi was understandably eager to make up for lost ground during the second practice session. However, the Frenchman once again pushed too hard as the session continued, as he skipped extensively wide through the gravel trap at Turn 7. With many drivers’ now focusing on heavy fuel runs in a bid to prepare for the 53-lap race on Sunday, Sebastian Vettel continued to look strong behind the wheel of his Red Bull. The German ace consistently continued producing lap times within the mid-01:28s, as Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton both cut the opening chicane after out-braking themselves.
Lewis Hamilton’s woes continued during the latter half of the session, with the Briton continuing to out-brake himself in the heavy braking zone of Turns 4 and 5, which resulted in the 2008 World Champion cutting the chicane again and remaining only 8th fastest. Further down the order the McLaren duo sat 9th and 10th respectively, still struggling within the highly competitive midfield. Whilst the teams’ and drivers’ continued to prepare for the race on Sunday with long distance runs, Felipe Massa was forced to return to the pits with gear selection issues, with the Brazilian driver only 8th fastest in comparison to team-mate Fernando Alonso in 5th. Lewis Hamilton was lucky to continue circulating during the latter half of the session, as the Briton ran wide on the exit of the final corner and skipped through the gravel.
During the final few minutes of the session Fernando Alonso ran extensively wide through the gravel at Turn 7, after the Spaniard almost lost control of the rear of his machine. The two-time World Champion was lucky to avoid contact with the retaining barrier, as Ferrari’s adoring Tifosi flanked the Autodromo di Monza. Sebastian Vettel also cut the chicane at Turns 1 and 2, following numerous other drivers who had done likewise throughout the day.
Eventually the checkered flag emerged signaling the end of the second practice session, with Sebastian Vettel fastest once again after a dominant display of pace around the Autodromo di Monza. The German was followed by his Australian team-mate of Mark Webber, with 2007 World Champion and former Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen a distant 3rd. The teams’ and drivers’ will return for one final practice session on Saturday morning, in a bid to finalize their preparations for the all-important qualifying hour later in the day.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.453s 39 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.076s +0.623s 39 3. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.116s +0.663s 36 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.116s +0.663s 40 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.330s +0.877s 38 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.340s +0.887s 39 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.367s +0.914s 42 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.519s +1.066s 29 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.532s +1.079s 42 10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.627s +1.174s 39 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.830s +1.377s 40 12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.888s +1.435s 40 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.028s +1.575s 37 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.138s +1.685s 36 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.224s +1.771s 32 16. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.385s +1.932s 43 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.599s +2.146s 39 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.198s +2.745s 44 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.548s +3.095s 30 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.696s +3.243s 37 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.771s +3.318s 38 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.057s +3.604s 32
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