Vettel fastest again as Mercedes hit trouble

2013 Australian Grand Prix second practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2013Sebastian 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.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.908 33
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.172 0.264 31
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’26.322 0.414 26
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’26.361 0.453 38
5 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’26.680 0.772 32
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.748 0.840 35
7 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’26.772 0.864 28
8 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’26.855 0.947 32
9 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’27.435 1.527 35
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.187 2.279 34
11 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’28.294 2.386 30
12 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’28.311 2.403 37
13 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’28.566 2.658 33
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’28.627 2.719 31
15 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.772 2.864 33
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’28.852 2.944 36
17 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’28.968 3.060 36
18 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’29.386 3.478 39
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’29.696 3.788 32
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’30.165 4.257 37
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.600 4.692 36
22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’32.450 6.542 11

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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125 comments on Vettel fastest again as Mercedes hit trouble

  1. davros said on 15th March 2013, 7:59

    I really hope Red Bull aren’t the best again if only so that Vettel isn’t hailed as the greatest driver of all time.

  2. tmax (@tmax) said on 15th March 2013, 8:00

    I still can’t believe that McLaren is slow. They might still be sandbagging ;) otherwise how can the fastest car of the last race of the last season be so slow without any change on technical regulations. That too by more than a second off the pace.

    If they are indeed slow, Lewis Hamilton might be Thinking thank goodness I am out of that place!!!!!

    • panache (@panache) said on 15th March 2013, 8:15

      No chance. Any hopes that Mclaren are possibly still sandbagging were discarded once Martin Whitmarsh addressed the media. His forlorn demeanour told me everything I need to know. Mclaren might even be worse off than it looks at the moment.

    • Jonny C (@loomx92) said on 15th March 2013, 11:23

      It’s because unlike most of the teams (if not all) they have gone for a revolutionary new car instead of just evolving the car. This is hindering them at the start as they collect data and understand the car and how to set it up. They did a similar thing end of 2005, having had the fastest car on the grid (although probably one of the least reliable) they changed things up for 2006. The result was a slow and unreliable car.

      It’ll be interesting how it evolves during the season as their main reason for the revolution idea is to create a larger space for development. Maybe they might do similarly as ’06-’07 in the transition from ’13-’14, going from a dog of a car to the fastest car (on par with Ferrari at the very least). And this time they might even manage to do it by themselves ;)

  3. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 15th March 2013, 8:02

    Dear God, I hope this isn’t representative of Red Bull’s pace. I don’t think I could stand a 4th championship for Vettel.

  4. Kany (@kani) said on 15th March 2013, 8:08

    Don’t like what I’m seeing at Mercedes now!

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 15th March 2013, 8:09

    Early signs are that Vettel will cruise to pole. Perhaps tomorrow’s weather can throw up some surprises.

    McLaren’s lack of form so far is not completely surprising, but I expected them to be quicker than this. Equally, I had expected Williams to be a little further forward. But then, they seemed to be focussing on race pace. As was pointed out in the live chat, perhaps they are not expecting to make Q3, and only run the super softs with a heavy load of fuel. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, at least we will finally see how quick (or not) the Williams is when at last they take out the fuel.

  6. Todfod (@todfod) said on 15th March 2013, 8:16

    Big disappointment for FP2 seems to be Ferrari again. Nearly a second down on the Red Bulls.

    If you look past all the ball talk, Ferrari really look incapable of producing a championship winning car

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th March 2013, 8:30

      Year after year @todfod, year after year…

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 15th March 2013, 8:45

      The F138 is a better car than the F2012 at the start of the season, that is obvious,
      It dosen’t matter if you have a championship winning car at the start of season ,Mercedes has it last year but look where they ended the season
      The Key to win the WDC is the development of the car during the season
      Fernando said that he will be surprised if the Bull’s are not clearly the fastest team but he feels that Ferrari has reduced the gap ,

    • @todfod – it’s not looking all that promising in qualifying yes, but it is quicker than the times suggest I believe. The car has good race pace it appears though so all hope is not lost on you, but yes Red Bull have most definitely silenced their pre-season skeptics I think.

  7. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th March 2013, 8:29

    Either Bianchi is a future world champion, or Chilton is easily the worst British driver since…anyone??

  8. Coronis (@coronis) said on 15th March 2013, 8:39

    I’ll say one thing, I doubt Bianchi will still be at Marussia in 2014. Pretty sure Hamilton had the issue, they told Rosberg to shut it down, just in case.

  9. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 15th March 2013, 8:41

    New tactics for Red Bull? I’m used to seeing them well down on Fridays.

    I hope Williams were carrying loads of fuel, otherwise they’re struggling a bit, along with Toro Rosso.

    Did Martin Brundle spot anything else in Practice 2? Heard a couple of his trackside observations from Practice 1 and they’re worth a thousand David Crofts.

  10. Tango (@tango) said on 15th March 2013, 8:52

    I hope Red Bull have shown the full extent of their hand otherwise it might be a very frustrating season, as 2011 was (great racing, but not for the victory).

    I really feel for McLaren. When you are a top team and if your car is disappointing at the beginning of the season, you can normally still rely on your lead driver to drive incredibly to salvage maximum points. (aka HAM 2009 without the penalty, ALO 2012…) And I juste don’t see that happening.

  11. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 15th March 2013, 8:54

    Firstly, I was very surprised how dark it got towards the end. Haven’t seen the sky going this dark before in Australia and with chances of rain on Saturday and Sunday, it seems worrying.

    My heart sank whenever I saw Seb hitting purple in either sectors. Too early to comment but I really can’t stand the Red Bull/Vettel success anymore. Quite reminiscent of the Ferrari/Schumi era.

    Bianchi really impressed. Half a second faster than Chilton. Or else, Chilton is really bad in-spite more days of testing!

  12. sandy (@sandy) said on 15th March 2013, 9:05

    Just watched fp2 and have analysed all the times of the big 5.
    Mclaren are 1 sec off the pace on th long runs. I think a couple of teams have sandbagged today namely ferrari and lotus. Their pace on the long runs is a tad quicker than the bulls. Merc are probably about .5secs down on this group. So i don’t think it is a walk in the park for redbull as yet.
    More intetestingly is the strategies the teams are trying to run. Ferrari, Lotus, Mclaren are looking to do a 3 stop whereas redbull are going for 2 which is surprising because both lotus and ferrari had better tyre management last year compared to redbull. The mclaren also seems to have better degradation so a button or perez can still qualify out of the top 10 and have fresh tyres for all the stints.So if qualifying is dry i think we could well see a top 8 shootout. In fact i bet macca are praying that the rain stays away.

  13. sandy (@sandy) said on 15th March 2013, 9:05

    Just watched fp2 and have analysed all the times of the big 5.
    Mclaren are 1 sec off the pace on th long runs. I think a couple of teams have sandbagged today namely ferrari and lotus. Their pace on the long runs is a tad quicker than the bulls. Merc are probably about .5secs down on this group. So i don’t think it is a walk in the park for redbull yet.
    More intetestingly is the strategies the teams are trying to run. Ferrari, Lotus, Mclaren are looking to do a 3 stop whereas redbull are going for 2 which is surprising because both lotus and ferrari had better tyre management last year compared to redbull. The mclaren also seems to have better degradation so a button or perez can still qualify out of the top 10 and have fresh tyres for all the stints.So if qualifying is dry i think we could well see a top 8 shootout. In fact i bet macca are praying that the rain stays away.

  14. KP (@kp) said on 15th March 2013, 9:07

    Does anyone know a link to get practice lap timings for different drivers. It used to be on the FIA media site last year but I could not find it this year.

    Many thanks

  15. Howard (@howard) said on 15th March 2013, 9:17

    So is Di Resta waiting for tomorrow to smash Sutil?

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