Sebastian Vettel stayed on top of the times in the second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.
It was a one-two for Red Bull with Mark Webber second ahead of Nico Rosberg. But both Mercedes drivers came to a stop in the final minutes of the session.
Having set the pace in first practice, Vettel returned to the top of the times in short order as the second session began.
A lap of 1’26.274 put him comfortably ahead, with Lewis Hamilton half a second down.
Williams and Toro Rosso were the first team to sample the super-soft rubber early in the session, finding around a second in lap time but remaining in the midfield.
Fernando Alonso’s first effort on the red-coloured rubber left him the best part of half a second of Vettel’s mark on the medium tyres.
It was Mark Webber who eventually took the best time off his team mate. Vettel set out to respond and set a quicker time in the first two sectors before having to back off when he caught Pastor Maldonado.
Vettel eventually produced a 1’25.908, taking the fastest time off his team mate by over a quarter of a second. Shortly afterwards he reported a KERS problem on his car.
Hamilton looked like he might threaten Vettel’s time after a quick run through the first sector on super-softs. But he locked his brakes on the bumpy run into turn nine and took to the run-off area. His subsequent lap on now rather worn super-softs was only four thousandths of a second faster than his medium-tyre effort had been.
Giedo van der Garde was at the bottom of the times for the second session running. The Caterham driver ran wide at turn three early in the session and got stuck in the gravel trap, ending his session.
He was in good company as Hamilton’s session ended in a similar way, the Mercedes driver stopping at turn eight with six minutes to go. “I’m in the gravel, something’s wrong with the car,” he reported.
Moments later his team mate joined him as Mercedes told Rosberg to stop due to a gearbox problem. A hectic end to the session also saw Webber spin at turn 13 but he kept his car out of the barriers.
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Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty