Late effort puts Schumacher on top in second practice

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012
Michael Schumacher ended the second practice session in Melbourne fastest for Mercedes.

Practice started in wet conditions once again – though this time they were even wetter than had been seen in first practice.

This led some teams to do their initial running on wet weather tyres, while others hung back in the pits waiting for conditions to improve.

The soaked track caught out several drivers including Daniel Ricciardo, who had a high-speed spin in his Toro Rosso.

Mark Webber was one of several drivers to cut across the run-off at the first corner. Sergio Perez went into the gravel trap at turn 14 but was able to drag his Sauber out of it and get back to the pits.

Fernando Alonso was one of the first drivers to use intermediates, hustling his Ferrari around the Albert Park track to set the fastest time.

His place at the top of the times was later taken by Michael Schumacher. But a trip off the track caused front wing damage to his Mercedes.

The final quarter of an hour saw a flurry of laps as the drivers got the most out of a precious window of opportunity to do laps on slick tyres.

Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta swapped the fastest times to being with before Schumacher returned to the top of the times with a 1’30.643.

Nico Hulkenberg was the first man to lap in under 90 seconds and looked set to hold onto the top spot as he continued to improve his time on soft tyres.

He and Schumacher traded times but the Mercedes driver was the last to set his final lap and was quicker by a tenth of a second.

Perez was third-fastest for Sauber. Team mate Kamui Kobayashi lost control of his car at the end of the session and skidded sideways down the start/finish straight.

Heikki Kovalainen was eighth-fastest for Caterham but also has a scare when he went off at the first corner and rejoined the track as two other cars were passing by.

The was more woe for HRT. Pedro de la Rosa did a single installation lap in his HRT, the team struggling with a combination of front wing and hydraulic problems.

Narain Karthikeyan was able to run during the session but came to a stop shortly before the chequered flag came out.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’29.183 16
2 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’29.292 0.109 19
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.199 1.016 23
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’30.341 1.158 13
5 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.709 1.526 14
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’31.466 2.283 13
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’31.505 2.322 14
8 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’31.932 2.749 16
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.184 3.001 17
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.194 3.011 19
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.296 3.113 20
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’32.632 3.449 17
13 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’32.767 3.584 15
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’32.822 3.639 11
15 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.039 3.856 18
16 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.252 4.069 11
17 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’34.108 4.925 21
18 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’34.275 5.092 7
19 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’34.312 5.129 17
20 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.485 5.302 29
21 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.604 5.421 31
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’34.770 5.587 13
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’42.627 13.444 16
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth No time 1

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    108 comments on “Late effort puts Schumacher on top in second practice”

    1. macca1977 (@)
      16th March 2012, 7:12

      It looks like the Mercedes is a good car afterall. Go Schumi !!!!

      1. I have a feeling that when Michael Schumacher finally retires again, Mercedes will be the team of Nicos -Rosberg and Hulkenberg.”

        1. Only if he vanquishes Paul di Resta. Di Resta is the favoured son at Mercedes, considering that he’s always driven a Mercedes-powered car.

      2. Indeed it does and would explain the positive signals and body language in the preseason testing. ;) I reckon we will have at least one Merc on the podium in Melbourne.

        1. I bet not.

          1. awww robbie don’t be like that!

    2. Schumi wanted to be top so bad

      1. mmmm, apparantely so bad that he was on medium tyres when alot of the other guys were running softs…. oh wait!

        1. strictly commercial (@)
          16th March 2012, 9:04

          “oh wait!”
          Or don’t, seeing as the harder compound rubber may have a more appropriate choice for the cool-ish track conditions.

          1. That makes no sence. Softer tires always heat up much more quickly then the harder ones. In these conditions the medium compound would be a big disadvantage, but do note that if Mercedes gets their medium tires working in these colder conditions it might happen they wear out out their soft tires too fast in normal conditions.

            1. strictly commercial (@)
              16th March 2012, 9:37

              Yes, but the harder tires don’t require as much heat to work properly, at least that’s what I think I heard the commentators say today. Mind you, I was half asleep throughout the second session, so I may have gotten it horribly wrong.

            2. I haven’t picked up on that, so I am not sure about that. Could be, but if I got this correctly, most people used the soft tire, which could indicate the soft tire is in these conditions overall the better tire, with emphasis on “could”. Pirelli did indeed changed the medium tire to reduce the performance gap between the soft and the medium, maybe in the way you mentioned.

            3. Tom Haxley (@)
              16th March 2012, 11:08

              The commentators did mention several times the harder compound would be faster in these conditions.

            4. That simply doesn’t add up, the tyres need to heat up to be effective, the softs will heat up quicker and the wet weather makes it hard to heat the tyres up.

              The softs would most surely be the quicker tyre.

            5. @mike It does seem counter-intuitive, but tyre performance isn’t always as simple as softer-equals-faster-but-less-durable.

              In this case, there may be other differences between the tyres in terms of their construction, how they deform at speed, size and shape of the contact patch, their susceptibility to graining and blistering etc…

              It’s definitely unusual, but not unheard of. Tyres can be funny things.

      2. Gagnon (@johnniewalker)
        16th March 2012, 16:56

        @strictly-commercial I did enough racing in small league to know that harder compound you use, the more heat it need to be effective, thats why ferrari struggled last years with harder compound, couldnt make it hot enought

        1. strictly commercial (@)
          16th March 2012, 19:21

          Fair enough. I might have misunderstood the reasons why according to [Croft and Davidson?] the harder compound tires could have been more advantageous in these particular slightly damp track conditions.

          1. because Schumacher is not british so they felt the need to say something to make everyone whom was watching feel better is my guess…

    3. Did you guys seen the speed of that Merc on the straights? Its insane.

    4. And the wait goes on, again, nothing much to interpret from timings.

      1. Agree. To me the ferrari is not a bad car. The best times by ferrari were done with the medium tires while the ones in front of alonso were in soft ( almost all of them) the merdeces looks very good. and the sauber and force india seemS to be glory runs. Llooking at the positions between team-mates , it is clearly to see that ferrari , red bull and mclaren were doing the same things with both of their drivers (carrying the same amount of fuel) . That’s why They end up ferrari (4,7) redbull (10,11) and mclaren (15,16) that just shows that none of those teams are trying different things with their drivers ( Fitting/comparing new parts,etc) they are working on fhe race and pole position. even though it is friday , the red bull seems to be the fastest car out there, they never, ever show their speed until it matters. And button was faster than hamilton in both sessions . I think button will own hamilton this season. These are my thoughts and you are more than welcome to have yours.

        1. You obvioulsy missed the lap in P1 where Hamilton was looking at setting the fastest lap only to hit traffic and had to abort.

          1. Probably. As i missed alonso’s last lap in p2 where he was going faster than all the other drivers but had to lifted because of the spun kobayashi has sucfrred when he lost the car.

            1. aah nice spot, I didn’t see that one. Good stuff!

        2. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
          16th March 2012, 9:25

          The main problem with Ferrari isn’t outright pace. You could see from testing they would be quick for the first couple of laps, before dropping off massively. I can see them being OK for quali, but the race might be a completely different story.

          But then again, the Ferrari looked a massive handful out there.

      2. Indeed, with the variable conditions, there’s really not much to be gleaned from the times. I’m antsy to know just where everyone is sitting in terms of pecking order.

        1. i wish the race is wet, and so are the other flyaways, so that we dont know the true pecking order for as long as possible. its boring to know the true pecking order.

    5. Glock is 12th, huh.

      1. That shows you how the times set still aren’t representative. In fact, the time differences should tell people that!

      2. I’m actually happy, as tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and see qualifying, not even knowing how FP3 went, so everything will be a great surprise! I just hope it is a welcome one :P

    6. Red Bull and Mclaren (and Lotus) seem to have been doing their laps on a higher fuel load. But it surely was nice to see a bit of action, with Schumi really chasing that fastest time and Hulk being a nice sparring partner in that effort.
      Great save by Kobayashi, and by Kovalainen (looked like he came up on Narain’s HRT shortly before the corner and lost the car when passing him quickly).

      1. I certainly liked to see that round after round of half to full second improvements of by both Schumacher and Hulkenberg. I do think Schumacher was really eager to show some speed today, but that’s not to say they aren’t really fast anyway.

        I guess Schumacher just wanted to get himself into a good mindset and prove himself the car can be a winner so he had better get behind it! Let’s see him try that all year!

        1. I wonder if MS was practicing for qualifying. That is where he needs to up his game so it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of effort for him has gone into better Saturday performances. If the field is going to be tighter this year he won’t be able to get away with what he did on Saturdays last year.

          1. @robbie Seriously, change the record… do you just copy and paste your posts now as they all say practically the same thing?

          2. lol! Good point Harry!

      2. Probably. But if i’m not mistaken ferrari did their best time with the medium tires while the bulls and the mclaren did theirs with the soft compound which is a bit faster. Conclusion: tomorrow will be the day when we can have a clearer picture.

        1. Wasn’t MS on mediums too?

    7. Nick.UK (@)
      16th March 2012, 7:27

      The Hulk turns green! Love it! :D

    8. It’s difficult to judge the cars after two sessions in variable conditions, but here are a few of my observations:

      Red Bull — undeniably has pace, but the car seems very sensitive to changing conditions. Neither driver really seemed to get any speed when parts of the circuit were damp.

      McLaren — Button and Hamilton look very comfortable with it; of all the cars, I’d say this is perhaps the most complete package so far.

      Ferrari — not nearly as tight as it needs to be. Looks like it’s losing a lot of speed on the exit as Alonso and Massa don’t appear to be confident with getting on the throttle early.

      Mercedes — looks very, very quick, but I can’t help but wonder if a significant part of that speed is in the characteristics of the circuit itself. Should be very interesting to see them at a high-downforce track.

      Lotus — didn’t seem to do much. Whatever flashes of speed they showed were quickly lost as other drivers came out. Both Grosjean and Raikkonen seem to be very fussy when it comes to setup.

      Force India — kind of the opposite of Red Bull; it looks like it can readily adapt to changing conditions, but I wonder how it will go with extended running in the dry or full wet.

      Sauber — looks like an absolute handful to drive; oversteer in fast corners, understeer in the slow. Perez looks very comfortable with it, but Kobayashi was nowhere. Nice save, though.

      Toro Rosso — jack of all trades and master of none. It’s a good starting point, but they’ll need some pretty serious development if they want to close the gap.

      Williams — it’s better than the FW33, but I think its potential is being squandered on an underwhelming driver line-up.

      Caterham — a surprising result with both cars in the top ten, but difficult to judge overall. I think they’ve got the pace for reaching Q2 on merit, so maybe the simple design isn’t as bad as first thought.

      HRT — looks good standing still, which is about the best that can be said for it. I’d be very surprised if Karthikeyan or de la Rosa can make it within 107%, much less both of them.

      Marussia — for a car with no testing milage, it already seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of the MVR-02, but it’s still an uphill battle. They could surprise if they strike while the iron is hot, but I think they’re going to need a race of attrition to get a really good result. I still expect them to trounce HRT, though.

      1. @Prisoner Monkeys, this has got to be the comment of the day. “Williams — it’s better than the FW33, but I think its potential is being squandered on an underwhelming driver line-up.”. I think this year for Williams, is about financial survival more than anything else.

        1. Bigbadderboom
          16th March 2012, 8:23

          @PaulM I think Williams immediate future is fairly stable actually, they turned a healthy profit last year and still have funds from the IPO. But they do have to start showing some success on the track, their commercial ventures through Williams Hybrid would get a real boost in the arm with a podium or 2 this season (unlikely I know). There has been a lot of changes recently, and I hope that this changes don’t take away that gutsy privateer attitude they always had. I don’t think it’s by any means panic time for them, they just need to reverse the trend of falling down the grid.

        2. @PM, well said. Should be COTD

        3. I think that if anybody is going to get pace out of the Williams, it’s Pastor Maldonado. I know he gets a bad rap for what happened at Spa last year, but let’s just let bygones be bygones for the moment. For one, he’s not lacking in ability. Abysmal as Williams’ performances were last year, Maldonado kept Rubens Barrichello fairly honest, particularly in qualifying. Secondly, he’s clearly very confident with the car, describing it as “light years” ahead of the FW33. With the FW34, he’s trading up, whereas Senna is trading down (the Renault R31 was horrible by the end of 2011, but it was still better than the FW33). And speaking of Senna, Maldonado is established within the team. Senna is not. Maldonado already has all of the relationships with team members in place, while Senna is still learning how Williams operates. Even if Senna surpasses Maldonado by the end of the year, the onus of responsibility is on Maldonado to get results.

          That said, neither driver gets me excited for Williams. If you look at the drivers Williams have had in the past, there’s Mansell and Prost and Rosberg and Ayrton Senna; I don’t think either Maldonado or Bruno will be joining the pantheon of greats. Maldonado doesn’t have what it takes to lead a team in his second year, and Senna just isn’t particularly quick. I’m afraid Willams may have done too little, too late in correcting a problem that should have been identified and fixed in 2006, and that they’ll just be marking time until a more exciting prospect comes along, be it a better driver, or someone willing to buy the team.

          1. I’m with you, @prisoner-monkeys, in thinking Maldonado can have better results than Senna.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys, wrt Red Bull

        Neither driver really seemed to get any speed when parts of the circuit were damp.

        , I did notice that neither Red Bull or McLaren were activting their DRS (I saw the final dry running in FP2).

        1. They weren’t really doing it in FP1, either.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys…wrt Williams and past drivers…don’t forget about JV in 96/97….their last WDC.

            1. @robbie – I was just naming a handful of the awe-inspiring drivers Williams have hired (as opposed to all of them) to highlight my point: Maldonado and Senna might be Williams drivers, but they’re not Williams drivers.

    9. Great skills shown by Kobayashi undoing that slip…
      Nothing looks certain about hierarchy… Let’s wait till P3 and Qualifying.

    10. Well, finaly the wait is over! Merc loks like they have given Schumi a good package! McLaren looks very strong too. Ferrari, thankfully, doesn´t look as bad as everybody thought it would be and the good thing is they have a lot of room for improvement!
      The midfield looks like it could give a few surprises too!
      The biggest thing for me, that really made it worth my while waking up to see, is that “golden boy” seems to have gotten his wings cliped! hehehehe. Mark seems to have a better grasp of the RB8 this time! Although track conditions weren´t optimum, it seems “golden boy” will definitely have to work for the championship this time around!
      I think we have another 2010 type season on our hands now!!! **** Yeah!!!!

    11. yeah times on any FP mean jack.
      FP3 maybe…at a stretch.
      It hits the fan at Q2 and Q3.

      like others mentioned so many variables like tune and fuel loads. FPs after a new rule change are just shakedowns at best.

    12. Two things stood for me after P2. The nose on the Mercedes is fantastic looking. Unique in its shape and a truely beautiful part on the car.

      The other is the blade or fin at the back of the Williams airbox. What a crazy shape, looks like my backpacking can opener.

      Sorry Sahara Force India…your car is awful looking. Fast but has livery is a let down since last season.

      Most awesome fact of the weekend so far….the Mercedes 1.9 second tire change…..

      Overall these cars look damn good, the noses are very cool.

      1. Beauty and this year’s cars should never be used in the same sentence. You can compare them to each other and say maybe one looks better than the other, but BEAUTIFUL they are not.

        You’ve obviously managed to somehow convince yourself that they are, but pliz don’t try to convince anybody else!!
        Non of these ugly ducklings could ever turn into a swan!

        1. I am often ridiculed for my passion of Formula One in years gone by. I honestly think this new generation of Grand Prix machines look awesome. At first I was shocked to have seen the Ferrari, but now it too along with the rest are very cool looking. These ugly ducklings are what they are and what makes you think they should be anything else…like a swan or something like that…

          1. Agreed.

          2. I agree, I think they look cool and modern. I cant understand why the look of the car is so important anyway, it’s not a beauty contest. Seeing some of the reactions to the new cars is like watching a bunch of schoolgirls discuss the next boyband. When a design is produced for a practical reason and delivers a measurable improvement then the look is not important. Judging by appearances has always been regarded as shallow and vain and not a real judge of quality so why the hell is it so important this season.

            1. Are you nuts??

              The appearance of a Formula One car is what it is about. If it wasn’t then the FIA would have them race covered in a plywood box, all the same, all the time.

              Each car has its own beauty which reflects elements of design regulated by the latest of rule parameters. It is with purpose and intent that cars are the shape they are so that this shape promotes an advantage over its competition. Those rules are meant to level the playing field so that the competition is about the measure of the man, but in reality it is all about what the car looks like and how it performs.

              To say what they look like isn’t important makes me wonder if you are four marbles short.

      2. It is not the 1st time i am amazed by one of your comments, TED BELL. I should slowly get used to your strange taste…
        For example: the nose on the Mercedes. To me it is one of the most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen in F1. Up there with vacuum cleaner cars from the 70’s.
        Maybe this is humour ? I can’t tell.

        1. Nope , quite serious…..we will differ on the shape of the Mercedes. Take another look and compare it to the others.

          1. “Are you nuts??

            The appearance of a Formula One car is what it is about. If it wasn’t then the FIA would have them race covered in a plywood box, all the same, all the time. ”
            I am not sure who you addressed those comments to but having seen many different interpetations over the years it looks to me that safety and handling are more important than looks. The look of an F1 car has gone through many changes with extra bits being added and removed all the time with relatively litttle comment. A standardised appearence is not what F1 is about but design and function is and that combo will sometimes give rise to different shapes, ideas etc. I see nothing wrong with that. I certainly dont watch F1 to see pretty cars. general aerodynamics and safety ensure we will have decent designs and I quite like the current crop. I think it sad that engineering innovation is classified by how it looks and even more so that the Fia get involved in the cosmetics of the car. Rather than control the nose area for next year it should remain as an option as long as it works and is safe. Anyone who watches F1 purely for the look of the car doesn’t really understand the sport IMHO.

            1. The vast majority of F1 fans reacted negatively to the appearance of the 2012 cars solely due to the unusual shape of the noses. Never seen anything like it. We can’t all be wrong for how we have reacted. How the cars look is a big part of the equation for just about everyone…except you

      3. Agree with TED BELL. Merc Looks great.

        1. I also think the step noses are cool. On track, they look really aggressive and high tech, like I always picture F1 should be. I really can’t wait til quali tonight. G o Schumi and Ferrari. :)

      4. I’m with you, I think the Merc and the rest of the cars on the grid look great. And go Schumi, go!

        1. Maybe it’s a generation thing, but i cannot get passed or used to this years cars, i though I was looking through rose tinted glasses, remembering the cars from the 80’s and early 90’s, but after watching the season reviews again being shown on “That F1 Channel!!” I have confirmed my own thoughts. 2012 cars are ugly fact, just look at Fw14b (Williams) or the Mclaren Mp4 4 that Senna and Prost drove, beautiful cars, that look as fast as they go.

    13. Looks like a fairly distinct divide down the middle, with Mclaren, RB, Ferrari, Merc, FIndia and Lotus a bit ahead of the pack.

      Mclaren looks best all round, and you get the feeling Red Bull haven’t quite dialed in their car yet, I think it’ll be close between those two. Lotus have been underwhelming, Mercedes have shown real potential, but we’ll see if that can be sustained in qualifying, and the race, more importantly. Ferrari looks like its capable of a good lap time, but incredibly tough to drive, and inconsistent. Force India are hard to read but I’m incredibly impressed how far they’ve come in the last 3 years. Back in the Sutil/Fisi days I never had them pegged as a team that could potentially trouble the front runners.

      It’s a bit scattered among the Saubers, Toro Rossos, Williams and Caterham seem to be fairly close. I think Perez looks the most likely of those to trouble the back of the Force Indias and Lotus. Glock’s pace surprised me. Even in mixed conditions that’s not a bad showing from Marussia. I’ll be keeping my eye on them tomorrow, not that I’ll reeeeeally be expecting anything much. And HRT? Weeell…..

      1. you get the feeling Red Bull haven’t quite dialed in their car yet

        Well, they’d better get started!

        1. you get the feeling Red Bull haven’t quite dialed in their car yet

          Well, they’d better get started!

          Or maybe they just got their “wings” clipped!! hehehehe

    14. Alain (@paganbasque)
      16th March 2012, 8:05

      I am praying to see Michael on the top! The WO3 is amazingly fast, what a tremendous top speed.

      1. I think your and my prayers will be answered this season! I just hope he can at least win once again!! It would certainly bring tears to my eyes!

        1. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
          16th March 2012, 9:00

          I just hope he can at least win once again!! It would certainly bring tears to my eyes!

          Thats gonna be a very emotional moment. Even though with all the criticisms i’ve always regarded schumi as the best driver. His sheer brilliance behind the wheel is undisputed.
          Would love to see him win and then retire with pride :)

          1. Alain (@paganbasque)
            16th March 2012, 10:06

            I hope you´re right. Next week its my birthday so it would be a great present for me to see Michael on the podium!!! :)

            I have allways keep me faith in him alive, I know he can do it, at least another victory and perhaps something more, but its only a dream of course…

            1. I love to see my idol on top of the podium. Or giving hard times to the young star with a car capable of winning. He’s still brilliant I believe. Am excited now to see the real picture on Saturday.

      2. Tremendous top speed? Same as Grosjean in P1 and beat by Grosjean in P2? Something tells me this will not be about top speed. Especially when Red Bulls usually aren’t near that yet somehow manage to dominate.

    15. sid_prasher (@)
      16th March 2012, 8:23

      The damp weather means that the suspense on who is where will last a bit longer…though I am sure the teams have a fair idea by now.
      The Merc’s performance really surprised me and Schumacher was looking in great form today. Even SFI looked like it was going well. I was also happy to note that the Ferrari isnt quite as bad as I thought it might be.
      As expected Mclaren looked very balanced; probably the best (as i am not sure what’s the deal with the RBR)
      Slightly disappointed by Lotus’ pace…and finally happy to see HRT and Marussia compete.

    16. Just noticed the AUS flag hadn’t been updated to this years spec.

    17. Kobayashi’s save was good, but he’s clearly not as comfortable in the car as Perez. The C31 seems to be a hair trigger, and when Kobayashi hits the limit, to my eye, he’s over-reacting and compounding the problem, like the car knows he’s uneasy. Perez is a lot like Alonso – he’s just pushing through whatever protest the car offers up because he knows he will hit the limit of the car before the reaches the point of no return. He’s visibly quicker in a couple of corners.

    18. Couldn’t help but notice the Australian flag didn’t have a 2012 spec car in it.

      1. @toddbarden That’s because I did the 2012 ones for Red Bull. ;)

    19. David Smith
      16th March 2012, 8:36

      The best thing about free practice this morning was watching it live on the internet, and I didn’t pay Murdoch a penny!!!

      1. do tell !
        might get up tomorrowin time for qually !

      2. share a link pls

          1. Thanks David, much appreciated. I use identity cloaker to
            watch RTL but they dont cover free practise.

    20. I guess the Ferrari is not the pile of garbage people wanted it to be. Mercs looks ridiculously fast on the straights. McLaren as expected, they seemed fast, now they seem even faster. Lotus showed nothing special. Pretty impressed with Force India, but I expected them to make a step. Now we’re just wating for RBR to show what they’ve got, since they adhere to their tradition of not showing any performance on FP1 and FP2.

    21. I’m not going to read too much into Glock’s time, least of all because we don’t know much about relative fuel levels, but I was very impressed to see him finish the session 12th, especially considering when he set that laptime. He didn’t get an early lap in before the session was washed out – he got it on merit in the thick of the action late in the session once everyone swapped over to slicks. I think they could surprise.

      1. In what way? Caterham seems to be too far out to be even touched and wining over HRT, which apparently has their own car against them again, is not really a feat.

        1. @cyclops_pl – Surprise in the sense that they have something they can work with for the rest of the year (the MVR-02 was pretty much fully developed by mid-season; there was no logical way for them to continue), and that the gap to the rest of the field will be closer than most people are anticipating. Perhaps not by much, but they may do what Caterham did last year and start demonstrating that they do bring something to the sport.

          1. Hopefully you’re right. With Symonds overseeing the technical side of the car, they may, at the end of the year, achieve something more than just finishing races. It would surely be good for the sport as a whole. But still I feel they are further than closer to that goal.

    22. strictly commercial (@)
      16th March 2012, 9:07

      Did the Red Bulls really run without activating the DRS, as some are saying?

      1. As far as I could tell, neither RBR nor McLaren used their DRS in FP2… if anyone saw otherwise, please feel free to enlighten me, but I never saw either of them use it. Based on what I’ve seen so far, the McLaren looks like the car to beat. Red Bull haven’t shown me anything worth commenting on… not saying they haven’t got the pace, but the car looks unremarkable so far to my untrained eye. It’s very obvious they weren’t going for outright lap time but even so, in the changing conditions the McLaren looks to be the more stable, better driving car. Vettel has even admitted that he’s not too happy in the car, saying he struggled with it early on & that they’ll need to find something more in the way of balance overnight. That said, I don’t expect them to be worse than second place (though I can’t say I’d be too sad if they were further adrift than that).
        The Mercedes is looking pretty sharp… bloody fast on the top end too (guess their fancy wing is working). Ferrari has A LOT of work to do compared to the other big guns, IMO. Everyone else is where I’d expect them to be I guess, with Force India seeming to have made the biggest step forward. Sauber looks good in the hands of Perez… less so with Kamui. Caterham is firmly in the midfield now. The Lotus boys seem to be taking their own sweet time setting up the car. Hopefully they’re there or thereabouts come qualifying.

        1. Yep, I saw Vettel not using it for a few laps in FP2 but he DID use it towards the end of the session. They DID use DRS

      2. In an interview directly after FP2 Hülkenberg said he was driving behind Vettel for quite a lot of laps and Vettel didn’t once use DRS, so it seems they really didn’t use it.

    23. Mark my words, RedBull haven’t shown their cards yet. It was clearly obvious that both Seb and Mark were not constantly pushing the car, more so doing what they best in practice and getting it right for qualifying. Mclaren are confident as must be Renault with their lack of track time and I bet when it gets warmer on track the Ferrari will cook it tyres. My sleeping dog is the hulk driven FI.

      1. I just read an interview with Christian Horner that confirmed the RedBull cars are yet to run light.

        1. @funkyf1 – I don’t know about Horner. Every time it looks like someone’s got Red Bull in a corner, he comes back with a statement that explains exactly why the team is in the position that they’re in, and so the net result is that they always have an answer at the ready which just doesn’t sit well with me.

          1. And you like me, would have had the privilege of seeing the RB press conference on OneHD afterwards, those boys looked very relaxed.

    24. I am really happy Caterham have got their act together the combination of UK engineering and Foreign Money is paying dividends i just hope they don’t take the outfit to malaysia. This is excellent news that the promised perfomance increase to make the points finishes looks to be on the horizon. Just hope Williams can get there act together now.

      1. They won’t move the team’s operations to Malaysia. It’s just not practical. If they did, almost every event on the calendar would be a flyaway event; the only two races they could actually drive to would be Sepang and Singapore. The UK has far more connectivitiy than any other country in the world (Heathrow has more flights than any other airport in the world), and access to more technical, mechanical and industry knowledge than Malaysia does. It just doesn’t make sense to move the team’s operations to Malaysia – competing under a Malaysain licence is enough.

        1. The problem is i don’t see The venues staying as they are for long. Im talking long term i see Silverstone not being renewed at the end of its contract and Teams moving their HQ’s to Far East. where many of the Tracks will be in next 5-10 years. Thats just my guess that as the oil dry’s up the East is looking for ways of creating revenue through the entertainment industry. And they are learning how to put on a show. They are such big markets i can’t not see it hapenning.

          Future Tracks will be in Russia, Asia and south america some European tracks will have to make way for them. and then the UK will not be such a great base location. I just wish the UK Government was doing more to attaract and protect the motorsport industry in general.

    25. HRT had better hope to come within 107% or their weekend will probably go the way it did last year. Being outside the 107% rule in qualifying is’t exactly news for them, but not being able to show your pace in practice is pretty much the only back-up you’ve got.

      I hope it’s not the case. I want to see how they come up against Marussia.

    26. Did anyone notice that the Red Bull’s still seemed to have a bit of the EBD sound. Maybe their exhaust solution is the most powerful even with the regulation change?

      1. Yeha I thought that too, you can hear it sounds quite distinct on liftoff

    27. A bit of a random comment to make, but that picture looks stunning. Props to the photographer/editor!

      1. That’s Melbourne for ya! ******* down one moment, Beautiful the next. Today’s forecast (sat) for is for a few showers, but they won’t happen, at least they shouldn’t.

    28. Mercedes are looking very, very good, here’s hoping they can mix it with the top guys. Hopefully the Ferrari isn’t as bad as Sky were making it out to be. I have faith!

      1. Make that very, very, very good so

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