Hamilton leads McLaren one-two in damp second practice

2011 Korean GP second practice

Jenson Button, McLaren, Korea, 2011

Button was second quickest behind his team mate

Lewis Hamilton was the quickest driver in a damp second practice session in Korea.

He led a McLaren one-two with team mate Jenson Button ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

In marked contrast to the first session of the day, the second hour-and-a-half of practice began with a flurry of cars out on the track setting times.

With the track considerably drier than it was during the morning session, the drivers were quickly setting considerably faster laps.

The McLaren drivers quickly took up the top two places on the times and remained there. Button was fastest to begin with before Hamilton took over at the top.

For much of the session the pair were a clear two seconds faster than anyone else.

As the track conditions improved Jaime Alguersuari took to the track on slick tyres. But has he left the pit lane he was hit by Nico Rosberg, who ran wide at turn one onto the racing line.

Rosberg pulled over with his front wing folded under his front wheel, while Alguersuari drove back to the pits, fuming at the inadequacies of the circuit’s pit lane exit.

As the track continued to dry, drivers were faced with the choice of worn intermediate tyres or gambling on slicks. Both presented problems. Several drivers spun at turn four on worn tyres, including Bruno Senna and both Ferraris.

The other Toro Rosso of Buemi took on a set of super softs and had a spin. Button also tried them out but couldn’t generate any heat in them on the slippery surface.

As the session ended, no-one had been able to improve on their time on intermediate tyres, leaving the McLarens on top.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap
1 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.828 26
2 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.932 0.104 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’52.646 1.818 30
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’52.774 1.946 25
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’53.049 2.221 27
6 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’53.402 2.574 25
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’53.707 2.879 24
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’53.914 3.086 18
9 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’53.948 3.120 27
10 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’53.957 3.129 32
11 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’54.200 3.372 26
12 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’54.392 3.564 26
13 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’54.831 4.003 30
14 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’54.965 4.137 21
15 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’55.187 4.359 28
16 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’55.203 4.375 24
17 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’55.544 4.716 23
18 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’56.067 5.239 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’56.669 5.841 20
20 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’57.173 6.345 19
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’58.269 7.441 25
22 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’59.458 8.630 26
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’59.958 9.130 19
24 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 2’00.165 9.337 20

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25 comments on Hamilton leads McLaren one-two in damp second practice

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 7:43

    I guess they should really make that pit exit like they origiinally planned it, even if it means having a bigger pitlane time loss (bet the teams argued agains that).

    Hamilton really looks like being in bussiness. Driving quite aptly in the morning in the wet. Then being fastest in FP2 and when we saw him going through telemetry in the garage he looked fine as well.
    In general it seems the McLarens are a genuine candidate for pole position and a win this weekend. Shame they did not manage that earlier in the season, but its a good sign for next year as well.

    • vjanik said on 14th October 2011, 9:17

      why would the teams object to a longer pit lane? the relative time loss is zero since everyone has to do it. teams like Sauber would actually prefer a longer pit lane since they have fewer pit stops. but in general i think teams dont really care how long it is. it will effect their strategy but this applies to all teams so there is no advantage.

    • JimG (@jimg) said on 14th October 2011, 9:50

      It may be good for this weekend, but are Red Bull so much slower because they’re starting to try parts for next year?

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th October 2011, 7:44

    Alguersuari drove back to the pits, fuming at the inadequacies of the circuit’s pit lane exit.

    I’m bemused as to why they didn’t change this for 2011. The original plan for the pit exit had the cars circling the run-off area for the first turn, and then rejoining after the second corner. Yes, it was long, but there was also no speed regulation. Dropping the pit exit onto the racing line for one of the heaviest braking zones on the circuit just seems as dangerous as it is stupid.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th October 2011, 8:15

      @Prisoner-Monkeys It is very annoying in a virtual environment. They really ought to have been more creative with it and stick with the plan of looping around the run-off. The argument for put-lane loss time doesn’t really add up either. I know some teams do pit more than others on any given weekend but you could argue the damage has been done with having to pit in the first place.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 14th October 2011, 17:34

      Haha, I hadn’t even noticed it! In F1 2010 it’s how it was planned, finishing at T2, and I thought it was like this! Now, reading these comments and watching videos I see the cars come out at T1, which is more dangerous as T2 is less tight, so cars can easily stay on the inside, something impossible at T1.

  3. JCost (@jcost) said on 14th October 2011, 8:03

    Does Schumacher stands a chance in case we have a wet race?

    Please, don’t wake me up!

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th October 2011, 8:18

    STR looked promising in Japan based on the practice sessions but had a bit of a nightmare in the race. I hope they manage to score some good points this weekend as there looking competitive enough.

    Who knows?!

  5. panache (@panache) said on 14th October 2011, 8:20

    I have sleep deprivation of epic proportions so lazily this is mainly a copy/paste botch-job of some of my comments from the live session:

    As the track conditions improved Jaime Alguersuari took to the track on slick tyres. But has he left the pit lane he was hit by Nico Rosberg, who ran wide at turn one onto the racing line.

    Incidents revolving around pit exits are something I’ve been highly concerned about from a safety standpoint on many occasions during the last few years.

    There are so many occurances of drivers making overtaking moves down main straight where their trajectory takes them straight across the white lines of pit exit at max speed.

    Even during the previous race at Suzuka it happened when Hamilton passed Massa down the pit straight. What if a driver was exiting the pit lane at just the wrong time, even if it’s highly unlikely and drivers get radio’d this information?

    The fact the overtaking driver frequently crosses the white line on pit lane exit is quite worrying in the instance that another driver is exiting the pits, as more often than not they stay close to white line and at several tracks they pretty much come out of nowhere with massive speed differential between cars.

    Contributors during the live session mentioned that the Monaco pit exit is compromised in addition to other tracks such as the Nurburgring and Barcelona which also feature far from ideal pit exits.

    The notorious incident between Schumacher and Barrichello in Hungary last year is another prime example of the overtaking driver being squeezed on the inside line and literally driving straight across the pit exit past a blind wall.

    As things stand I reckon that a serious accident involving the a driver exiting the pit lane and an overtaking driver approaching at vastly greater speed is simply a question of when rather than if.

    But what could be done to minimise the risk, or should anything be done at all? Modifications to the pit exits of classic tracks which have been the same for decades are surely out of the question and any other changes that immediately spring to mind seem like weak counter-measures at best.

    Personally I think that this is just one of those risk factors that is accepted as part of racing, but it doesn’t help me feeling like something is being overlooked and the lack of an incident involving an overtaking driver and a pit lane exit is currently being taken for granted.

    Here’s to hoping such an incident doesn’t occur.

    • vjanik said on 14th October 2011, 9:24

      crossing the white line when you are not exiting the pitlane is allowed. they are the best drivers in the world and are aware of the risks when doing so. its much more dangerous driving on public roads than it is for them these days. an F1 car is about the safest place one can be. you cannot eliminate all risk, and frankly i dont think the drivers or the fans would want to. otherwise they would be playing/watching chess or curling.

    • Casanova (@casanova) said on 14th October 2011, 12:01

      The Monaco pit exit was modified a few years ago for just this reason – cars now exit up the hill after Sainte Devote.

      I agree about this risk on many circuits – it seems bizarre to prevent traffic on one side of the line from crossing it (those leaving the pits) whilst allowing other cars to cross it willy-nilly at high speed.

  6. panache (@panache) said on 14th October 2011, 8:33

    Any information on Pirelli enforced camber limits for this weekend, considering the aggressive choice of compounds and relatively new, unused green track?

    Does this race potentially mark a return of blistering concerns/issues given the high top speeds and long straights? As far as I can remember the track temperatures are similar to Spa.

    Or could it be the opposite with drivers unable to establish sufficient tyre temperature and struggling massively for grip? Such an outcome would be catastrophic.

    Button’s radio message towards the end of the session suggested that gaining temperature on his option tyres was practically impossible in the damp conditions at the end of the session.

    This potentially provides some insight into the reasoning behind Pirelli’s aggressive choice of compounds for this weekend as sufficient tyre temperature is paramount to performance and thus the reduction of excessive tyre slip and wear.

    Could the drivers suffer similar woes even after the track has dried up? I doubt it, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. The Korean track surface is pretty much an unknown quantity.

  7. Was Algersuari actually fuming? I mean, rant on the radio or something like that?

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th October 2011, 10:33

    Just got some news, seems they did agree on a stop gap solution for the pitlane (from @sarahholtf1 on twitter):

    News just in from Alguersuari. He says a blue light will be used for the rest of weekend to indicate when a car is leaving the pits

    Not sure that really solves much, but its at least something.

  9. D Winn (@d-winn) said on 14th October 2011, 10:43

    Maybe they should put the blue light on Lewis’ helmet during qualy so Filipe can see him ;)

  10. mclaren (@mclaren) said on 14th October 2011, 10:51

    Mclaren look impressive, but can’t read too much into times, nevertheless, i think in a dry qualifying, Mclaren (Hamilton) should have enough pace to put it on pole by 2/3 tenths

  11. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 14th October 2011, 11:01

    ferrari proved a preconfiguration of the 2012 car front wing

  12. mattr said on 14th October 2011, 12:11

    i want to see lewis back to his best.hopefully i’ll see that tomorrow and on sunday.

    • vho (@) said on 14th October 2011, 15:33

      Tyre management might be his weakest link – if he can get that right he should be in good shape. If it’s a battle between the two McLarens on a high tyre wearing track, I’d have to put my money on Jenson on having the higher race pace towards the end of the stints. If Lewis counters with a faster out laps he may have to be careful of not over doing his tyres.

      Alonso might be a surprise as well given his form in Suzuka – it seemed he looked after his tyres better than Vettel.

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