In a repeat performance of his stunning FP1 display, Sebastian Vettel blew away the competition yet again with the fastest time for FP2 at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit. The German’s team-mate Mark Webber was 2nd fastest despite a late-session slide and suspected car maladies ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were 4th and 5th for Lotus, and the E21 looked remarkably strong over long-run simulations, topping the timesheets by some margin from even the Red Bull duo. Tyres were a huge talking point as drivers switched from the harder Pirelli medium compounds to the super-soft only to find the faster tyres degraded too fast to work properly.
Mercedes day had progressed nicely until the dying moments of the second session when Lewis Hamilton lost control and buried his car in the turn 3 tyre wall. As the Briton walked away from his stricken F1W04 the second silver arrow driven by Nico Rosberg was also coating to a halt with a gearbox fault; this is worrying news for the Brackley-based team as a single gearbox is required to last for five races.
McLaren continued to struggle with Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh admitting to British broadcaster SkyF1 HD that the team is ‘struggling’ and ‘not where [it] wants to be’. Jenson Button ended the session 11th while problems with Mexican Sergio Perez’s car left him trailing down in 13th. The long-run pace of the MP4-28 looked equally unimpressive with both drivers reporting a total lack of grip.
Williams restricted themselves to a limited short run on the super-soft tyre that left them in 16th and 18th places, while the Marussia and Caterham cars lined up in alternating sequence.
|1||Sebastian VETTEL||Red Bull||1:25:908|
|2||Mark WEBBER||Red Bull||+0.264|
|9||Adrian SUTIL||Force India||+1.527|
|12||Paul DI RESTA||Force India||+2.403|
|14||Daniel RICCIARDO||Toro Rosso||+2.719|
|17||Jean Eric VERGNE||Toro Rosso||+3.060|
|22||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||Caterham||+6.542|