The second practice session in Istanbul ended with the top teams not far apart on lap time. But each seems to be strong at different points on the Istanbul track.
Read on for analysis and interactive data from second practice.
Tick/untick drivers’ names to show/hide their laps, click and drag to zoom
The second session at the Istanbul circuit this afternoon was run in hotter temperatures – the track surface was already above 50C before the green light came on.
As usual, drivers generally started the session on the harder tyres, did some quick runs on soft tyres in the middle of the session, then ended the session with a longer run on used hard tyres.
The fastest times came when the drivers switched to the soft tyres. Of course we don’t know the fuel loads, but the cars seem encouragingly closely-matched. Remember that when Red Bull dominated qualifying at Spain they had showed a similar performance advantage in second practice as well.
Today the RB6s were faster than anything through the second sector – including the long, fast turn eight – by three tenths of a second. Onboard pictures showed their car was visibly more stable around the four-apex turn than anything else.
But McLaren clawed back much of that in the final sector, thanks to being quickest through the speed trap – 2kph faster than anyone, and 5kph faster than the Red Bulls.
On top of that Jenson Button drove a peach of a first sector on his quickest time.
Ferrari may not be too far behind either – Fernando Alonso lost time behind Michael Schumacher on his first soft tyre run.
However, form tells us that McLaren have often looked better on a Friday than Saturday or Sunday – they’ve been fastest in eight of the 14 Friday sessions so far this year.
Cue the mind games: While Button played down his car’s performance today, Sebastian Vettel said he is wary of the McLaren threat:
I think McLaren looks very competitive here, their [F-duct] system seems to be working well and they seem quite a bit quicker than everyone else on the straights.
Red Bull ran their F-duct for the first time today but it seems they’re not quite happy with it yet – Mark Webber described it as “not the most straightforward of systems.”
But Vitantonio Liuzzi is pleased with Force India’s implementation of McLaren’s innovation:
I think it’s working pretty well, it’s a clever solution to it and not too difficult to use considering what you have to do.
The engine that failed in Webber’s car was apparently very close to the end of its operating life and the team aren’t concerned about losing it.
Two other drivers to sufer technical trouble today were Nico Hülkenberg, who had hydraulic problems in the Williams, and Jarno Trulli, whose Lotus lost third gear.
Lotus appeared to have a healthy margin in hand over Virgin. The latter said they were mainly concentrating on high-fuel runs, but Timo Glock admitted he wasn’t sure the team had gone in the right direction on set-up:
We experienced a lot of balance problems with the car and this morning I was worried because it looked like we were going backwards rather than moving forward in the way we had hoped.
The reduced gap between the new teams and the midfield will be partly down to Jaime Alguersuari once again doing a long run in the second practice session in the Toro Rosso. Still it seems the new teams are gradually cutting the gap to the midfield.
Tomorrow’s qualifying session should give us more definitive answers to the question of who’s quick around Istanbul.
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|Pos.||Car||Driver||Car||Best lap||Gap||Lap||At time||Laps|
|2||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’28.378||0.098||15||63||23|
|3||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’28.590||0.310||10||51||27|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’29.629||1.349||9||79||16|
|14||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’30.176||1.896||7||36||34|
|15||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’30.386||2.106||21||68||32|
|16||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’30.627||2.347||6||12||28|
|18||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’30.933||2.653||5||12||37|
|20||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’33.013||4.733||19||74||28|
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