Mercedes driver fastest in FP2 as team battles Red Bull for dominance.
Having gone fastest in FP1, Lewis Hamilton repeated the feat in FP2 – and again the Briton was only narrowly ahead of the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and Mercedes’ team-mate Nico Rosberg.
In a session that followed the accepted FP2 norm, short runs on the prime tyre soon gave way to short runs on the option, and it was at this point, 37 minutes into the 90 that Hamilton set his best time of 1:38.673. He displaced Rosberg, who in turn had displaced Webber from the top of the standings. At that point Vettel had yet to sample the supersoft rubber, being out-of-sequence having spent time in the garage having his rear wing changed. Vettel made his fast run just before the hour mark and split the Mercedes, slotting into P2.
By the time Vettel came back to the track, his competition had all switched to high-fuel and were beginning long runs, typically around six-seven seconds off their ultimate pace. This represented the end of affairs with regard to lap-time improvement.
The front four were separated by less than two-tenths of a second but behind them there was a gap to Felipe Massa, fifth for Ferrari. Romain Grosjean was sixth for Lotus, ahead of Fernando Alonso in the other Ferrari. Kimi Räikkönen was eighth, having been heard to complain that his Lotus, rebuilt after his FP1 crash, was steering erratically. Jenson Button was ninth-quickest for McLaren and Adrian Sutil rounded-out the top ten for Force India.
The session was largely devoid of spectacle, though the surface proved to still be slippery, with many drivers suffering spins or sliding into the run-off areas.