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

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125 comments on Vettel fastest again as Mercedes hit trouble

  1. Ivano (@) said on 15th March 2013, 9:29

    Gazzetta.it reports Ferrari wasn’t aiming for times, as both Alonso and Massa were switching diffirent rear aero packages to find the right balance.

  2. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 15th March 2013, 9:42

    Have to love the “Oh no – it’s 2011 again” comments 2 practice sessions into the season ! Calm down everyone….

    This season isn’t going to be lie 2011 at all. McLaren will develop their car very quickly into one that can compete with Red Bull, Alonso will drag the Ferrari forward in the race as will Hamilton with the Mercedes (until it breaks down). Lotus seem very fast which means instead of Grosjean taking out the cars that qualify in the 5th – 9th, there’s a good chance he’ll be further in the pack at the start!

    Practice sessions regularly mean nothing and whilst Red Bull look (and clearly are) fast, I don’t expect it to be a season of Vettel driving off into the distance.

  3. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 15th March 2013, 10:01

    Please, don’t let it be another 2011. Fingers crossed for Lotus and Ferrari.

  4. Master firelee (@master-firelee) said on 15th March 2013, 10:05

    To me it seems the order in terms of quali pace is:
    Red Bull.
    Mercedes-Lotus-Ferrari.
    Force India-Mclaren-Sauber.
    Williams-Toro Rosso.
    Marussia-Caterham.
    Although I think Williams are faster than what they have shown.

    • Ivano (@) said on 15th March 2013, 10:16

      I think with a bit of Rain, Bianchi will win. ;)
      Okay, I’m being hopeful there, it’s so cruel to see talent like him right at the tail battle… :(

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 15th March 2013, 10:56

        He is already showing that he is a class above the rest at the slow end of the field. Considering all of the testing Chilton has done in the Marussia, Bianchi has been comfortably faster than him at every single oppertunity so far.

        If he manages a few reasonable results over the year (reasonable for Marussia that is), he could will end up with a decent seat next year.

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 15th March 2013, 20:04

      @master-firelee
      Great summary there bud.

  5. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 15th March 2013, 11:42

    An interesting point to note regarding Mercedes in second practice. Lewis was P2 after a ten lap run on the mediums which he set his fastest time on the ninth lap. Vettel did his fast lap on the mediums on a 5 lap stint. This was before everyone switched to the super softs. I think the merc long run pace looks pretty good.
    Lewis’s off was due to a damaged splitter not a mechanical failure, so his car is fine and easily fixed. Not seen anything on Rosbergs gearbox yet.

  6. Well, i wasn’t expecting Red Bull to be so quick from the start, i wasn’t expecting McLaren and Williams to do so poorly, I wasn’t expecting Torro Rosso to be just where they were last year and I wasn’t expecting Sutil and Bianchi to do so well. The only two teams that ar where I though they would be, are Ferrari and Mercedes, to be honest.

    Still, it’s a good start of the season, right?!

  7. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th March 2013, 12:24

    I still can’t believe this man actually called his RB9 ‘hungry heidi’

  8. Tasimana said on 15th March 2013, 12:29

    Spent the afternoon at the track with my sons and it was great. The speed, braking ability and noise are something to behold. TV just doesn’t do it justice. All the cars look good in the flesh. With a small Friday crowd you can easily get up close and personal at different parts of the track. Public transport woeful though.

  9. John H (@john-h) said on 15th March 2013, 12:33

    Could it be that the MP4-28 is fluent in Ronspeak?
    It would explain why they are “struggling to understand the car” perhaps.

  10. Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 15th March 2013, 13:21

    oh boy look at Lotus..they are genuinely consistent now..Never get to hear something good about the car from kimi….but this time he says he’s pretty happy and comfortable with the car and says he could go much faster…hope it doesn’t rain though…
    Dry: Vettel Hamilton Raikkonen
    Wet: Button Webber Alonso

  11. Vettel clearly the best. For the ones who were saying that Sutil would take half of the championship to get into Di Resta shoes here you have the clues. Let’s see what comes for tomorrow. The two Nico’s are showing their noses. Jules Bianchi top of the underdogs, as predicted. Great flop for Catheram to bet on a rookie season. I don’t know why these smaller teams don’t hire a more experience driver for Fridays so they would get the car on the right wheels.

    • Still camileon (@stillcamileon) said on 15th March 2013, 15:06

      Vettels clearly the best, No No No No No, the cars clearly the best, Adrian Newey is clearly the best, Vettel’s driven the best car for four years now but he’s not the best driver, if he were he’d prove it by moving teams which he will only do when the Redbull starts to fail.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 15th March 2013, 19:53

        @stillcamileon – Rubbish. So apparently Ayrton “the best” moved to Williams when Mclaren were still at the top of their game?

        • Still camileon (@stillcamileon) said on 15th March 2013, 20:04

          Do your homework Ayrton did jump ship when he new that the Williams was the better car, in fact he offer to drive for Williams for nothing just to be in the car, anyway who was talking about Ayrton in the first place.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 15th March 2013, 20:21

            @stillcamileon – I brought up Ayrton as an example because you claim that Vettel isn’t the best because he won’t move teams. I don’t mind someone believing that he isn’t the best, in their opinion- but I do mind, when people justify the claim by holding him to a different standard than other past drivers (i.e. asking him to move when in order to prove himself, when Red Bull aren’t failing).

            Oh, and you can’t tell me to “do your homework” when you more or less admitted to my example being true.

      • I was just saying he was “clearly the best” at the two Friday practice sessions. :p

  12. Still camileon (@stillcamileon) said on 15th March 2013, 14:57

    Looks like us poor old Mclaren fans are in for another bumpy ride this season, its like opening a big present at christmas only to find a small present inside, not so much Evil Knievel and his gyro cycle more yesteryear dinky toys !.

  13. Still camileon (@stillcamileon) said on 15th March 2013, 15:17

    Again and again we wait for Mclaren to regain there form,i really need to get down to that factory and bash a few heads together, much like our fellow Ferrari fans its all becoming a little to familiar to lose.

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