Late effort puts Schumacher on top in second practice

2012 Australian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012

Michael Schumacher ended the second practice session in Melbourne fastest for Mercedes.

Practice started in wet conditions once again – though this time they were even wetter than had been seen in first practice.

This led some teams to do their initial running on wet weather tyres, while others hung back in the pits waiting for conditions to improve.

The soaked track caught out several drivers including Daniel Ricciardo, who had a high-speed spin in his Toro Rosso.

Mark Webber was one of several drivers to cut across the run-off at the first corner. Sergio Perez went into the gravel trap at turn 14 but was able to drag his Sauber out of it and get back to the pits.

Fernando Alonso was one of the first drivers to use intermediates, hustling his Ferrari around the Albert Park track to set the fastest time.

His place at the top of the times was later taken by Michael Schumacher. But a trip off the track caused front wing damage to his Mercedes.

The final quarter of an hour saw a flurry of laps as the drivers got the most out of a precious window of opportunity to do laps on slick tyres.

Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta swapped the fastest times to being with before Schumacher returned to the top of the times with a 1’30.643.

Nico Hulkenberg was the first man to lap in under 90 seconds and looked set to hold onto the top spot as he continued to improve his time on soft tyres.

He and Schumacher traded times but the Mercedes driver was the last to set his final lap and was quicker by a tenth of a second.

Perez was third-fastest for Sauber. Team mate Kamui Kobayashi lost control of his car at the end of the session and skidded sideways down the start/finish straight.

Heikki Kovalainen was eighth-fastest for Caterham but also has a scare when he went off at the first corner and rejoined the track as two other cars were passing by.

The was more woe for HRT. Pedro de la Rosa did a single installation lap in his HRT, the team struggling with a combination of front wing and hydraulic problems.

Narain Karthikeyan was able to run during the session but came to a stop shortly before the chequered flag came out.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’29.183 16
2 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’29.292 0.109 19
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.199 1.016 23
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’30.341 1.158 13
5 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.709 1.526 14
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’31.466 2.283 13
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’31.505 2.322 14
8 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’31.932 2.749 16
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.184 3.001 17
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.194 3.011 19
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.296 3.113 20
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’32.632 3.449 17
13 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’32.767 3.584 15
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’32.822 3.639 11
15 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.039 3.856 18
16 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.252 4.069 11
17 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’34.108 4.925 21
18 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’34.275 5.092 7
19 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’34.312 5.129 17
20 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.485 5.302 29
21 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.604 5.421 31
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’34.770 5.587 13
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’42.627 13.444 16
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth No time 1

2012 Australian Grand Prix


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108 comments on Late effort puts Schumacher on top in second practice

  1. Todd Barden (@toddbarden) said on 16th March 2012, 8:27

    Just noticed the AUS flag hadn’t been updated to this years spec.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th March 2012, 8:31

    Kobayashi’s save was good, but he’s clearly not as comfortable in the car as Perez. The C31 seems to be a hair trigger, and when Kobayashi hits the limit, to my eye, he’s over-reacting and compounding the problem, like the car knows he’s uneasy. Perez is a lot like Alonso – he’s just pushing through whatever protest the car offers up because he knows he will hit the limit of the car before the reaches the point of no return. He’s visibly quicker in a couple of corners.

  3. Todd Barden (@toddbarden) said on 16th March 2012, 8:32

    Couldn’t help but notice the Australian flag didn’t have a 2012 spec car in it.

  4. David Smith said on 16th March 2012, 8:36

    The best thing about free practice this morning was watching it live on the internet, and I didn’t pay Murdoch a penny!!!

  5. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 16th March 2012, 8:36

    I guess the Ferrari is not the pile of garbage people wanted it to be. Mercs looks ridiculously fast on the straights. McLaren as expected, they seemed fast, now they seem even faster. Lotus showed nothing special. Pretty impressed with Force India, but I expected them to make a step. Now we’re just wating for RBR to show what they’ve got, since they adhere to their tradition of not showing any performance on FP1 and FP2.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th March 2012, 8:42

    I’m not going to read too much into Glock’s time, least of all because we don’t know much about relative fuel levels, but I was very impressed to see him finish the session 12th, especially considering when he set that laptime. He didn’t get an early lap in before the session was washed out – he got it on merit in the thick of the action late in the session once everyone swapped over to slicks. I think they could surprise.

    • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 16th March 2012, 8:45

      In what way? Caterham seems to be too far out to be even touched and wining over HRT, which apparently has their own car against them again, is not really a feat.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th March 2012, 8:57

        @cyclops_pl – Surprise in the sense that they have something they can work with for the rest of the year (the MVR-02 was pretty much fully developed by mid-season; there was no logical way for them to continue), and that the gap to the rest of the field will be closer than most people are anticipating. Perhaps not by much, but they may do what Caterham did last year and start demonstrating that they do bring something to the sport.

        • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 16th March 2012, 10:16

          Hopefully you’re right. With Symonds overseeing the technical side of the car, they may, at the end of the year, achieve something more than just finishing races. It would surely be good for the sport as a whole. But still I feel they are further than closer to that goal.

  7. strictly commercial (@) said on 16th March 2012, 9:07

    Did the Red Bulls really run without activating the DRS, as some are saying?

    • Aldoid said on 16th March 2012, 9:56

      As far as I could tell, neither RBR nor McLaren used their DRS in FP2… if anyone saw otherwise, please feel free to enlighten me, but I never saw either of them use it. Based on what I’ve seen so far, the McLaren looks like the car to beat. Red Bull haven’t shown me anything worth commenting on… not saying they haven’t got the pace, but the car looks unremarkable so far to my untrained eye. It’s very obvious they weren’t going for outright lap time but even so, in the changing conditions the McLaren looks to be the more stable, better driving car. Vettel has even admitted that he’s not too happy in the car, saying he struggled with it early on & that they’ll need to find something more in the way of balance overnight. That said, I don’t expect them to be worse than second place (though I can’t say I’d be too sad if they were further adrift than that).
      The Mercedes is looking pretty sharp… bloody fast on the top end too (guess their fancy wing is working). Ferrari has A LOT of work to do compared to the other big guns, IMO. Everyone else is where I’d expect them to be I guess, with Force India seeming to have made the biggest step forward. Sauber looks good in the hands of Perez… less so with Kamui. Caterham is firmly in the midfield now. The Lotus boys seem to be taking their own sweet time setting up the car. Hopefully they’re there or thereabouts come qualifying.

      • Aussie Fan said on 17th March 2012, 2:36

        Yep, I saw Vettel not using it for a few laps in FP2 but he DID use it towards the end of the session. They DID use DRS

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th March 2012, 11:18

      In an interview directly after FP2 H├╝lkenberg said he was driving behind Vettel for quite a lot of laps and Vettel didn’t once use DRS, so it seems they really didn’t use it.

  8. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 16th March 2012, 10:05

    Mark my words, RedBull haven’t shown their cards yet. It was clearly obvious that both Seb and Mark were not constantly pushing the car, more so doing what they best in practice and getting it right for qualifying. Mclaren are confident as must be Renault with their lack of track time and I bet when it gets warmer on track the Ferrari will cook it tyres. My sleeping dog is the hulk driven FI.

  9. scribbler (@scribbler) said on 16th March 2012, 10:36

    I am really happy Caterham have got their act together the combination of UK engineering and Foreign Money is paying dividends i just hope they don’t take the outfit to malaysia. This is excellent news that the promised perfomance increase to make the points finishes looks to be on the horizon. Just hope Williams can get there act together now.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th March 2012, 11:37

      They won’t move the team’s operations to Malaysia. It’s just not practical. If they did, almost every event on the calendar would be a flyaway event; the only two races they could actually drive to would be Sepang and Singapore. The UK has far more connectivitiy than any other country in the world (Heathrow has more flights than any other airport in the world), and access to more technical, mechanical and industry knowledge than Malaysia does. It just doesn’t make sense to move the team’s operations to Malaysia – competing under a Malaysain licence is enough.

      • scribbler (@scribbler) said on 16th March 2012, 13:52

        The problem is i don’t see The venues staying as they are for long. Im talking long term i see Silverstone not being renewed at the end of its contract and Teams moving their HQ’s to Far East. where many of the Tracks will be in next 5-10 years. Thats just my guess that as the oil dry’s up the East is looking for ways of creating revenue through the entertainment industry. And they are learning how to put on a show. They are such big markets i can’t not see it hapenning.

        Future Tracks will be in Russia, Asia and south america some European tracks will have to make way for them. and then the UK will not be such a great base location. I just wish the UK Government was doing more to attaract and protect the motorsport industry in general.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th March 2012, 13:27

    HRT had better hope to come within 107% or their weekend will probably go the way it did last year. Being outside the 107% rule in qualifying is’t exactly news for them, but not being able to show your pace in practice is pretty much the only back-up you’ve got.

    I hope it’s not the case. I want to see how they come up against Marussia.

  11. S2G-Unit (@s2g-unit) said on 16th March 2012, 16:49

    Did anyone notice that the Red Bull’s still seemed to have a bit of the EBD sound. Maybe their exhaust solution is the most powerful even with the regulation change?

  12. Ninjenius (@ninjenius) said on 16th March 2012, 18:43

    A bit of a random comment to make, but that picture looks stunning. Props to the photographer/editor!

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 16th March 2012, 21:32

      That’s Melbourne for ya! ******* down one moment, Beautiful the next. Today’s forecast (sat) for is for a few showers, but they won’t happen, at least they shouldn’t.

  13. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 17th March 2012, 1:57

    Mercedes are looking very, very good, here’s hoping they can mix it with the top guys. Hopefully the Ferrari isn’t as bad as Sky were making it out to be. I have faith!

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