Massa leads the way in second practice

2013 Chinese Grand Prix second practice

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2013Felipe Massa put Ferrari on top at the end of Friday’s running in Shanghai.

Second practice began much as the previous session had ended, with the two Mercedes drivers leading the Red Bull pair.

Nico Rosberg looked set to sustain that after switching to soft tyres and easily staying fastest. Mark Webber managed to split the two Mercedes.

But drivers who did their soft tyres runs later were able to find more time. First among those was Massa, whose 1’35.340 put him almost half a second clear of the Mercedes.

The second Ferrari of Fernando Alonso took third place, over four-tenths of a second off his team mate. In between them was Kimi Raikkonen, who found the soft tyres more to his liking than the mediums.

Lewis Hamilton lost time on his soft tyre run as he had to picked his way past Nico Hulkenberg. The Sauber driver was in no mood to be obliging having been held up by Hamilton and Rosberg on his fast lap: “The bloody Mercedes,” he said on the radio, “both of them didn’t get out of the way”.

Most teams completed their soft tyre runs early so they could conduct more extensive evaluations of their race pace. Not everyone liked what they found. “I’ve never seen tyres behave this way,” said Hamilton on the radio. “Do other people have the same degradation?” He was told his team mate’s situation was similar.

But Rob Smedley was far happier with Massa’s race pace. “Compared to the other people on this tyre it’s not good it’s incredible,” he said at one point.

Sergio Perez’s difficult day continued. Having gone off at the end of the first session he had another moment early on in the second, skidding into the gravel.

He wasn’t the only driver to go off during the session. Giedo van der Garde had a lurid high-speed spin at the first corner and Pastor Maldonado also went off during the session.

Max Chilton’s session was wasted as he stopped with an engine problem early on. He eventually rejoined the track only to come to a stop again with just five laps on the board. “We have an engine oil problem again,” said race engineer Gary Gannon, “sorry Max”.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.340 32
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’35.492 0.152 32
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.755 0.415 30
4 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’35.819 0.479 35
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’36.092 0.752 31
6 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.432 1.092 29
7 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’36.496 1.156 39
8 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’36.514 1.174 32
9 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.595 1.255 33
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.791 1.451 27
11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.940 1.600 16
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’36.963 1.623 31
13 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.103 1.763 22
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’37.206 1.866 39
15 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.127 2.787 34
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’38.185 2.845 18
17 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.211 2.871 32
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’38.276 2.936 34
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.725 3.385 29
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’39.271 3.931 21
21 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’39.814 4.474 27
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’43.227 7.887 5

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35 comments on Massa leads the way in second practice

  1. msoerensen (@msoerensen) said on 12th April 2013, 8:37

    Massa on pole tomorrow would be baffling.

    • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 12th April 2013, 8:44

      I guess that either ALonso is then 2nd or 3rd, maybe even pole for Alonso, – and Massa second.

      Second practice doesn’t necessarily show all the picture, qualiying pace-related.

      Anyway, my prediction is that Alonso wont let Massa beat him in qualifying again.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 8:52

        @il-ferrarista

        my prediction is that Alonso wont let Massa beat him in qualifying again.

        I don’t think he has a choice in the matter!

        • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 12th April 2013, 9:14

          If I understood you right ALO _must_ beat Massa – on merit.
          Although Massa can be a master qualifier, imo Alo much isn’t behind him, even on his bad days..

          If i recall correctly Alonso did match qualy-master Trulli in both 2003 and 04, during the sessions. Wasn’t necessarily better than him, but could match him. Or, maybe more like – during 2003 he was a bit faster on average during the 18(?) qualifyings, but in middle-2004 he got beaten by Trulli in 4-5 GPs. Still, Alonso wasnt much behind Trulli between Spain and Canada in 2004.

          So, I don’t really know.., to me Alonso is rather underrated in qualifying, he did not have the right car for qualifying for pretty many seasons now.
          What do you guys think?

          • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 12th April 2013, 10:05

            I don’t think qualifying is Alonso’s greatest strength, but being one of the three best drivers on the grid, his natural speed makes up for that. I would rate him 4th best on the grid this year, behind Vettel, Hamilton and Webber.

            It’d be interesting to see him team up with a now more experienced Lewis Hamilton. Look at how Vettel had Webbers number 2:3 over the years, cross-referencing Alonso-Trulli and Alonso-Hamilton I would have expected a better score for Hamilton, as I rate him about equal to Vettel for qualifying.

          • I think Alonso is a better qualifier than Webber…. In my opinion the order is somewhat like Hamilton, Vettel then Alonso closely followed by Webber and Grosjean and then Kimi… and I think Even Maldonado and Massa are very good qualifiers when they are on form..

            It’s just my opinion formed over the years watching these guys… and I could be right or wrong…

      • Nomore (@nomore) said on 12th April 2013, 8:54

        Fer was in traffic in his flying lap…but what i want is a lock out Ferrari in quali (no matter who is 1st or 2nd ) it’s since 2008 that we miss that…and if this happens we Ferrari fans we will have fun all year long

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 8:57

          I think that’s being hopeful though; Rosberg in particular I imagine will have something to say about that, and you can never discount Red Bull. We’ll have a slightly clearer picture in FP3 though as per usual.

          • Nomore (@nomore) said on 12th April 2013, 9:06

            FP2 is a more accurate and clear picture than FP3 at least what i saw last year and this two races. I don’t know if 1-2 will happen in this race, but they are in the right direction to do it in the upcoming races.

        • GT_Racer said on 12th April 2013, 9:06

          Fer was in traffic in his flying lap

          Don’t think it was traffic, Karun Chandhok (Excellent commentary analyst in my view) believes he tried something different regarding how he pushed the tyres.

          Most pushed hard from the start of the lap & found the tyres were losing grip in sectors 2/3, Alonso took it easier in sectors 1/2 to see if this gained him an advantage with tyre grip in sector 3.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 9:57

      Massa on pole and for the win with that “incredible” pace on the softs would be really interesting to see. I would guess that we would see a bit of inner team rumbles there soon.

      Wouldn’t bet on it though, as GT_Racer reminds, Chandhok noticed how Alonso spared his tyres a bit in the first 2 sectors so he could keep them alive until the end of the lap. I am sure he will be right there as well.

      But its promising to have both Ferrari and Mercedes fast enough to take a fight to Red Bull in qualifying, and with Kimi into it for the races as well (not too sure for quali with the Lotus though).

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 12th April 2013, 11:06

      (@msoerensen)

      Massa on pole tomorrow would be baffling.

      I’d love to see Massa on pole again, I’ve really felt for the guy the last few years.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th April 2013, 15:07

      This year, and the latter part of last year has seen an incredible return to form by Massa, so much so that I am beginning to believe that his accident physically affected his brain in such a way as to diminish his driving skills and that this return to form is actually due to his brain slowly mending itself or finding a “work around”, I can find no other explanation for the difference in post-accident Massa and the Massa we see now and saw pre-accident. Any neurologists care to comment?

  2. peter_h said on 12th April 2013, 8:46

    pirelli have got this very wrong, these soft tyres are complete & utter junk!

    so what lap time will drivers be forced to run to this week.

    i was supporting of pirelli initially & the tyres they brought in, now however i hate these stupid tyres & think they have gone too far now to be honest. after welcoming pirelli with open arms im now desperately hoping there forced out soon!

  3. Roger2013 said on 12th April 2013, 9:02

    I was critical of the tyres after FP1 & am even more so after FP2.

    Its getting ridiculous at how extreme these 2013 compounds are, they can’t even handle 1 lap & lose 5 seconds in 6 laps, Thats pathetic!

    I dont mind tyres wearing, But the level these pirelli’s are wearing, degrading or whatever is just plain ridiculous.

    just confirms were in for another weekend of driving running around well under the pace because there all been forced to drive to a lap-time delta, its getting stupid watching drivers having to drive off the pace & having to run to a lap-time just because the tyres have this silly amount of degradation.

    they need to rethink them & come back with something a bit more conservative, a tyre that still wears somewhat but allows drivers to push & race harder!

  4. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 12th April 2013, 9:20

    Are RBR sandbagging or is the tyre degradation causing problems again?

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 9:29

      @cyclops_pl – well Webber went out much earlier on the softs than Massa, so that account for some of his deficit but I think Vettel could indeed have been “sandbagging” as he didn’t do much of a run on the softs: he did a couple of fast first sectors and then lost a lot of time in the rest of the lap, looking almost as if he backed off.

      So I think we really have to wait until FP3 when they do proper qualifying simulations, as I reckon that’s the route Red Bull’s going down (as was suggested in Sky commentary) – they’ll only really focus on qualifying for a small time as they seem to have it nailed from the first two races.

    • Aditya F. Yahya (@adityafakhri) said on 12th April 2013, 10:19

      Vettel made it hard to Prediction Championship entrants :)
      my opinion, the degradation is and will always be big on Red Bull side. to anticipate it, they save the tyres as much as they can. the downside: they don’t have much time to learn the correlation of tyre performance with lifetime on certain tracks. the upside: they can push as hard as they can on Sunday. exactly the case when Vettel had one more fresher tyre available than Webber and the rest of the field. It could be masterstroke like last Malaysian GP, but it could be boomerang like what happened to Alonso in last Canadian GP.

  5. MB (@muralibhats) said on 12th April 2013, 9:31

    How big a factor is the first corner accidents in Shanghai? Do teams strategize on occurrence of such events before the race? or even qualifying?

  6. Rohan (@neobrainless) said on 12th April 2013, 9:38

    I like that Bianchi is within a second of 4 drivers at established teams… Loving how much he is proving Force India were wrong in ditching him…

  7. sumedh said on 12th April 2013, 10:02

    I like that pic of Massa which accompanies this article on the front page. Been a long time since I have seen him this smiling.
    But why is that pic not in the article?

  8. What in the world is happening in the midfield, I wonder?! Sauber, Williams and Torro Rosso are still nowhere compared to Force India.

    I know it’s just practice but it’s the third weekend in a row where the pecking order stays pretty much the same. Red Bull, Merc, Ferrari and Lotus right up there with Force India and McLaren right behind, Sauber, Williams and Torro Rosso somewhere at the back of the midfield with Marussia and Caterham ending it. That’s starting to tell us something about what those cars are generally capable of, at the moment at least…

  9. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 12th April 2013, 10:47

    Dont worry Massa. Apparently doesn’t matter where you finish in the race as long as you start ahead of your team mate.

  10. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 12th April 2013, 11:02

    looks like the development route they’re trying on Button’s car is getting more performance than the one on Perez’s. Hopefully we should see more performance from them tomorrow.

  11. timi (@timi) said on 12th April 2013, 12:31

    It seems as though the Pirellis have gone too far now. Tyre management has always (apart from the early 2000s) been a part of F1. However you could pretty much drive very close to the limit while protecting the tyres. However now it seems that if you want the tyres to last any decent length of time, the speed is to be dialled down quite a lot.

    The pinnacle of motorsport should be driven at, or close to, 100% while also managing tyres, engine temps, brake temps etc. Not 70-80% with the sole purpose of tyre preservation. Gone are the days of wringing the neck of the car to get every last tenth out of it, that would just severely shorten the tyre life. Sad really.

  12. 72defender (@72defender) said on 12th April 2013, 14:31

    I still think pole is Mercedes’ to lose. While I am not belittling Massa’s lap time, he did appear to set his time when the track conditions were more favorable. Since the lifespan of the soft tires are a concern the issue for me is whether Mercedes will do a split strategy and have one driver in Q3 or mediums and the other on soft. I suspect at least one team will try it.

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