• Belgian Grand Prix - FP2

Vettel on top in FP2 but suffers tyre failure

ESPN Staff
August 23, 2013
Sebastian Vettel set the pace in FP2 © Associated Press

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set a dominant pace in second practice at the Belgian Grand Prix, but the lead Red Bull's session ended early when he suffered a right rear tyre failure.

Vettel and Webber went on the medium compound tyres earlier than most and both set times in the 1:39.3s, with the pair split by just 0.059s. Romain Grosjean was the closest man to the Red Bulls but still 0.818s off, with a best time of 1:50.149. Felipe Massa managed a 1:50.164 to go fourth fastest ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne who unlocked some impressive pace from his Toro Rosso for fifth. Kimi Raikkonen was 0.987s off Vettel's pace and sixth fastest.

Vettel's tyre failure happened on the medium compound as he came out of Courbe Paul Frere, with the right rear tread coming away from the inside and outside shoulders of the tyre. The tread largely remained intact and Vettel kept his car pointing in the right direction, but the failure will signal alarm bells in the paddock after the problems with exploding tyres at Silverstone in June.

Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest in the Ferrari after leaving his medium tyre run later than most, with Sergio Perez, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta rounding out the top ten. Alonso spent the early laps on medium tyres attempting to overtake Jenson Button in to Les Combes and then allowing the McLaren back through to try again.

It was a disappointing session for Button as he ended up in 15th place having challenged McLaren to fight for the podium this weekend, while Mercedes also appeared to be off the pace of the Red Bulls.

Vettel wasn't the only driver to suffer issues at the Courbe Paul Frere as Giedo van der Garde crashed out of the session soon after Vettel's puncture. Van der Garde lost the rear end on exit but having caught the slide the car was pitched in to a spin on the exit kerb and slid in to the tyre barrier.