• European Grand Prix - FP2

Vettel on top during close FP2 in Valencia

ESPN Staff
June 22, 2012

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the second free practice session for the European Grand Prix.

Vettel's time of 1:39.334 set on soft tyres was enough to put him at the head of a group of 15 cars which were separated by less than a second. Second quickest was Nico Hulkenberg as Force India showed the sort of pace that could make it contenders for a Q3 slot tomorrow, while Kamui Kobayashi was third for Sauber - just 0.261s behind Vettel.

Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna made it five different teams in the top five as the field was extremely close on one-lap pace, something that will cause a number of headaches amongst the teams ahead of qualifying.

The Lotus race pace was still evident as Romain Grosjean was the quickest man during the longer runs, but again it struggled a touch when trying to set a headline time - Grosjean half a second off the pace in eighth place and Kimi Raikkonen back in 11th.

Even further back were the McLaren pair as Jenson Button ended the session in 12th and Lewis Hamilton 14th. Both drivers were fairly early on to the soft tyres during FP2 so the times can't be read in to too much, but it appears Button has found a few answers to his recent struggles as he ended the session 0.656s slower than Vettel and almost 0.2s ahead of his team-mate.

At the back of the field the updated Caterham matched the pace of the Toro Rossos, although both teams were at least half a second off the pace of the rest of the teams ahead.

Pedro de la Rosa caused a yellow flag when he put his HRT in the wall at turn 14. It was a strange incident as de la Rosa was cruising round but appeared to misjudge how quickly he was still going and just understeered straight in to the tyres, burying the car. A number of other drivers locked up and ran wide as they had in FP1, but Sergio Perez managed a full spin at turn 17 as he seemed slightly out of sorts; eventually ending the session almost a second slower than Kobayashi.