• United States Grand Prix

Vettel completes domination of Friday practice

ESPN Staff
November 16, 2012

Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of free practice for the US Grand Prix by topping second practice by 0.757s from his team-mate Mark Webber.

Vettel's time was all the more impressive because he spent a large proportion of the session in the garage as Red Bull addressed some concerns with his water system. When he did get back on track it didn't take him long to get back up to speed on the medium tyres and he soon blitzed the best efforts of his rivals.

The delay cost Vettel a lot of running as he completed 19 laps less than Webber, and he did set his time later than the rest of the field as he was out of sync with the rest of the field. His problem was the second water leak for Red Bull after Webber suffered a similar issue at the end of FP1.

Behind Vettel the pack was quite closely matched, with Fernando Alonso 0.010s off Webber and Lewis Hamilton a further 0.263s off. Jenson Button was 0.038s off his team-mate before a 0.3s gap back to Felipe Massa in sixth. Vettel's time in FP1, however, would have been quick enough to top the times in the second session.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen was 11th quickest - 2.4s slower than Vettel - as the Lotus team focused on evaluating upgrades having been one of six teams to participate in the Young Driver Test last week.

Mistakes were still being made as the grip level remained low, but drivers were also eager pushing on the medium tyres. Webber dived up the inside of Vitaly Petrov in to turn 11 when the Caterham tried to turn in, leaving Petrov waving his fist. It was Heikki Kovalainen who had the more serious incident, however, as Jean-Eric Vergne clipped his left rear trying to pass in to turn 19 and leaving Kovalainen to complete a whole lap with a puncture.

Pastor Maldonado's session came to a slightly early end as he appeared to suffer an engine failure exiting turn 19 in the final minute. Maldonado managed to roll down the pit lane having switched his engine off following a brief fire in one of the exhausts, with the engine due to be replaced overnight anyway.

At the back of the pack, the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan were slowest after running a reduced program due to a lack of spare parts. It was especially tough on Karthikeyan who had to sit out FP1 as he was replaced by Ma Qing Hua.

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