By: Max Davies, F1 Correspondent
- McLaren dominate 2nd Practice
- Rainy conditions again
- Problems for HRT
In a move that defies pre-season expectations, McLaren Mercedes finished the second practice session of the new Formula One season with an impressive first and second place.
Complete with new developments and a new, more conventional exhaust layout - which replaces the previous troublesome design, Jenson Button’s time of 1m25.854s was good enough to see the 2009 world champion end the day on top, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton on a 1m25.986s.
Held in blustery conditions similar to the earlier first session, the cloud cover remained heavy and there were a few scattered showers during the afternoon session. Drivers were encouraged to use the opportunity to gather vital data for the new Drag Reduction System (DRS) and to gain further understanding of the Pirelli tyres in cooler conditions.
The German’s best time of 1m26.014s was quicker than the fastest time managed by team mate Mark Webber. The Australian – who ended the first practice on top of the timing sheets, could only muster 5th place on a 1m26283s.
Finishing over two seconds faster than he managed earlier in the day, Michael Schumacher’s lap of 1m26.590s was enough to see the Mercedes GP driver claim 6th place ahead of Felipe Massa in the Ferrari (1m26.789s) and the Sauber of Sergio Perez on a 1m27.101S.
Rounding out the top ten, Rubens Barrichello took 9th for Williams with a best effort of 1m27.280s and the Mercedes GP of Nico Rosberg in 10th on a 1m27.448s lap.
Jaime Alguersuari was 11th for Toro Rosso while Vitaly Petrov impressed at Lotus Renault after finishing ahead of team mate Nick Heidfeld again by ending the 75-minute session in 12th place.
Sebastien Buemi was 14th for Toro Rosso while the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi and the Force India of Paul di Resta were 15th and 16th respectively.
Struggling for grip, Adrian Sutil was 17th in the sister Force India car with Williams newcomer Pastor Malonado in 18th. Team Lotus took 19th and 20th courtesy of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli while Marussia Virgin drivers Jerome d’Ambrosio and Timo Glock finished 21st and 22nd.
Despite not completing a timed lap, Hispania did take to the track but Vitantonio Liuzzi did an installation lap before heading back to the pits at the end of the session. Narain Karthikeyan failed to sit in the car, let alone venture out of the pit lane.