• Japanese Grand Prix - FP2

Webber tops Friday practice ahead of Hamilton

ESPN Staff
October 5, 2012

Mark Webber finished Friday's practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix on top after pipping Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time of the day.

Webber set a 1:32.493 on soft tyres, which was 0.214s faster than Hamilton's McLaren and 0.343s faster than Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Nico Hulkenberg backed up Force India's recent pace with the fourth fastest time ahead of championship leader Fernando Alonso and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

The session was action-packed and bookended by two accidents at Spoon corner. Just over five minutes into the session Paul di Resta touched the grass on entry and ended his afternoon against the barrier with damage to his front-right suspension and front wing. Roughly ten minutes from the chequered flag Michael Schumacher had a carbon copy accident, hitting the barrier a little harder and dislodging his front wing.

In the closing minutes of the session Vitaly Petrov had a rear wing failure and finished his day's work in the turn one gravel trap. It was a worrying accident with the rear wing appearing to detach itself as he entered the first corner. Several other drivers also diced with the limits of the Suzuka circuit, with Felipe Massa running wide at the first Degner towards the end of the 90 minutes before regaining control in the gravel trap.

Kimi Raikkonen had limited running due to a KERS problem that saw him return to the pits and jump clear of the car to ensure he did not receive an electric shock. The team then donned rubber gloves to investigate the problem and he managed to get back out on the track 10 minutes before the end. However, he was out of sync with the other cars on the track and got stuck in slow traffic as he attempted to set a quick lap on fresh soft tyres.

It looks likely to be another fight for pole between McLaren and Red Bull on Saturday with both teams bringing upgrades to their car this weekend. McLaren tested a number of bodywork updates in practice one, but technical director Paddy Lowe said the cars will not run in their definitive race specification until Saturday morning. Lotus also trialled its drag reduction "device" (or double DRS) during the session and will decide whether to run it for the first time in qualifying and the race overnight.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN Staff Close