• Australian Grand Prix - FP2

Schumacher pips Hulkenberg in FP2

Chris Medland March 16, 2012

Michael Schumacher set the fastest time of a wet/dry second practice for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Schumacher set a best time of 1:29.183 with the very last lap of the session to pip Nico Hulkenberg's Force India as Mercedes showed some of the pace that is gained from the legal F-Duct system it has pioneered. The drying track meant times were tumbling throughout the final 15 minutes as drivers went out on slick tyres and exploited the improving track conditions.

Sergio Perez was third in the Sauber, a full second slower than Schumacher and 0.1s ahead of Fernando Alonso, with Ferrari the first to go out on intermediate tyres in the middle of the session. A torrential downpour about an hour before FP2 left the track soaking wet with a lot of standing water, and only a few tentative laps from both Saubers and Toro Rossos were possible in the opening 20 minutes.

After some intermediate lap times, there was a break while all the teams waited for the track to dry out a little more before the hectic ending to the session as many ventured out on slicks. Kamui Kobayashi set the fifth fastest time with a 1:30.709 as Sauber looked strong, despite running wide at the final corner at the end of the session and fishtailing before half spinning on the main straight.

Sixth quickest was Paul di Resta, underlining the Force India pace though he was over two seconds slower than Schumacher. Felipe Massa was seventh after recovering from his spin in FP1 to cover 14 laps.

Heikki Kovalainen was an encouraging eighth for Caterham, ahead of Nico Rosberg, the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and an impressive 12th for Timo Glock as he searched for track time and setup options in the Marussia.

Morning pace-setter Jenson Button was only 15th quickest in the McLaren, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton one place behind him after Hamilton remained in the garage for most of the session. Following a similar approach was Kimi Raikkonen, who only completed 7 laps late in the day.

Pedro de la Rosa made it out on track after his car wasn't ready in time for FP1, but he only completed one installation lap before a hydraulic problem confined him to the pits for the rest of the session, while Narain Karthikeyan also stopped out on track after the chequered flag with a similar issue.