- Canadian Grand Prix - FP2
Vettel tops Friday practice in Montreal
Sebastian Vettel gave Red Bull some hope of beating the McLarens ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in Friday practice.
It was a strange afternoon session that appeared to counter the conclusions drawn from the morning, as the McLarens were off the pace with Lewis Hamilton seventh and Jenson Button 11th. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was Vettel's closest challenger and was just 0.086 off the Red Bull's best time. Nico Rosberg went some way to proving that Mercedes' pace in the first practice was no fluke by clocking the third fastest time ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Maybe more revealing of the true order in Montreal were the longer stints, completed by all the front runners on soft tyres in the final 15 minutes. Vettel was consistently six seconds off the pace and suffered from severe tyre graining. His competitors also had their problems with tyre wear, but the McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes were all able to manage them better and that showed in their lap times. As if to underline the point, Vettel looked thoroughly miserable as he clambered out of his car at the end of the 90 minutes.
In fifth place was Felipe Massa, a slight improvement on his form of late, but still 0.5 seconds off the pace of his Ferrari team-mate Alonso. Adrian Sutil was sixth in the Force India and even set the fastest final sector at one point with the VJM03's F-duct apparently working well on the long straight.
It was Robert Kubica in the Renault who was fastest through the speed trap, although that straight-line speed only translated into the eighth fastest time overall. He was ahead of Michael Schumacher in ninth, who had shown promise in the first session, but finished 0.5 seconds off his team-mate Rosberg in the afternoon. However, as with all the drivers, the fuel loads are unknown and there could be a shakeup of the order in time for qualifying.
One driver who has almost certainly improved since Turkey is Tonio Liuzzi, who built on a good performance in the morning to finish tenth fastest overall. He said he was still experiencing some of the traction problems that dogged his recent race weekends, but added that he had noticed some improvements by reverting to the chassis he used before the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alongside Button, the two Williams drivers were just outside of the top ten in 12th and 13th. In 14th was Vitaly Petrov's Renault, ahead of the two Saubers and the Toro Rossos. Towards the back of the grid the HRTs showed signs of progress, by lapping faster than Jarno Trulli's Lotus and the Virgins. But to be fair to Trulli, he did miss out on most of Friday's practice with gearbox problems.