Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2012

Schumacher edges Hamilton in second practice

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2012Michael Schumacher put Mercedes on top in the second practice session at Shanghai International Circuit.

The second practice session was much busier than the first as the track was dry throughout.

Lewis Hamilton led the times to begin with on medium tyres, with Nico Rosberg slotting into second.

The Red Bull drivers made an early switch to the soft tyres and took over at the top of the list. Sebastian Vettel set two quick laps on the softs, peaking at a 1’36.160, with Mark Webber 0.2s behind.

Several other drivers made minor errors during the session, sometimes exacerbated by the still-wet run-off areas. Paul di Resta spun his Force India at the exit of the final corner doing just that and Heikki Kovalainen copied him later in the session.

Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna also had off-track moments. And Timo Glock’s session came to an end when he spun off at turn one, the front wing and nose cone detaching from his Marussia.

Schumacher was next to try to the soft tyres and went quickest with a 1’35.973. Hamilton was quicker in the first two sectors but couldn’t match the Mercedes in sector three – which includes the long back straight – and ended up second, 0.172s slower.

That demoted the Red Bulls to third and fourth ahead of Rosberg and Jenson Button.

Kamui Kobayashi, the tow Force Indias and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari completed the top ten. His team mate Felipe Massa was down in 17th.

Sergio Perez was 11th. The Sauber driver was one of several to have trouble braking for the turn 14, but his difficulties were the most acute. At one point he flat-spotted his tyres so badly the front of the car started to vibrate and he had to pit.

With track temperature no higher than 15C, the Lotus drivers had trouble with their set-up. Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 13th, Romain Grosjean 15th.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’35.973 32
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.145 0.172 29
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.160 0.187 27
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’36.433 0.460 24
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’36.617 0.644 31
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.711 0.738 28
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.956 0.983 28
8 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.966 0.993 31
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’37.191 1.218 31
10 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’37.316 1.343 32
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.417 1.444 22
12 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’37.616 1.643 33
13 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’37.836 1.863 30
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’37.930 1.957 32
15 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’37.972 1.999 26
16 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’38.176 2.203 35
17 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.293 2.320 31
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’38.783 2.810 37
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’38.990 3.017 36
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’39.346 3.373 20
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’39.651 3.678 15
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’40.343 4.370 25
23 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’40.753 4.780 30
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’41.125 5.152 26

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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74 comments on “Schumacher edges Hamilton in second practice”

  1. Mercedes looking quick in qualifying spec, Schumacher may have a chance at a pole I reckon.

    1. Let’s hope their tires hold up for the race

      Massa is a second behind alonso again

      1. Massa really isnt doing well at Ferrari, I can see him being replaced before the end of the year.
        And yes, even though I’m a Vettel fan I do hope Schumacher does well in the race, it’d be nice to see him on the podium again:D

        1. Yeah, for Massa it was a complete disaster when Rob told him Alonso was not breaking at the turn 3. Does he not know how to drive himself???No good for Massa.

          1. @suka Turn 3 in Shanghai, are you sure he said 3? You shouldn’t brake anywhere near that corner, out of T2 you floor it till the T4 breaking zone. Of course just with a proper racing car, maybe he was afraid of the half ready Ferrauber.

          2. Do you have the recording on youtube for that?

  2. Things getting from bad to worse for Massa

    1. I kind of feel sorry for him, but then he really has nobody to blame but himself. If he’s not mentally strong enough to compete with Alonso, then he should voluntarily vacate his seat.

      1. @McLarenfanJamm I agree he seems to have lost the edge, not sure it’s Alonso getting to him or just the desire has died a bit. He came so close the WDC and may feel that was his best chance, and maybe combined with his accident it’s just taken something away from him. But listening to Rob Smedley giving him pointers on where not to brake and areas where he can make up time doesn’t paint a picture of confidence in Massa. I know that Rob does this with Massa sometimes but a whole second off the pace looks poor for Massa. But there is 6 tenths between Rosberg and Schuey and also between Jenson and Lewis so perhaps we are drawing too much from a practice session, i hope so for Massa.

        1. @Bigbadderboom – Massa has lost speed since his accident: I agree with you that he should vacate his seat. Perez might end up at Ferrari next year, or possibly sooner…

          1. Massa was still fast after his accident. He only lost motivation after Ferrari handed his win to Alonso.

        2. To be honest, Hamilton regularly asks his engineer where he is losing time. Of course, in this case, he is looking for a lost tenth or two, not a second. These conversations tell me that even for Hamilton, its hard to definitively know where is the limit in an F1 car. I think if you just dont “get” the car and dont have confidence in what its doing you can suddenly look very foolish. You can’t get near the limit. As tight as the field is you get bllown away if you are not at the limit at all times. Massa is not on the wrong side of that fine line.

      2. Giving up a seat in F1 is admitting defeat, that you’re not good enough, and will make you less attractive for other drives.

  3. I have genuinely no idea what to do with my predicitons at this point…

    Question: Did Hamilton make a mistake in sector 3 on his flying lap or is the Mercedes really that quick down the back straight? I saw that Schumacher, Rosberg and Raikkonen all set 320kph through the speed trap, where were Hamilton and Button in relation to this? If the Merc is genuinely that quick then they could definitely be looking at a first pole since they returned to the sport. Cooler temperatures could prevent them fromover-heating their tyres during the race too. First podium?

    1. The McMercs were doing something like 314.9kph I think.

      1. Hmm. Does 5kph really equate to (at least) 2 tenths of a second over 1.3km?

        1. We have to make assumptions, because the difference of 5,1 is at a single point of the 1,3 km straight and we do not know how the cars behave during the rest of it.

          If (theoretically, it is not the case) the whole straight were run at the top speed, then the difference would be 0,27 seconds.

          IF (now a big IF) we assume that the difference is maintained along the straight at whatever speed they are at a given point (i.e. one car at 100, the other at 105.1 kph) then the impact increases since 5,1 becomes a bigger % difference.

          If the average speed of the cars were for instance 250 and 244.9 kph, then the impact would be 0,39 seconds along the straight,

          All in all, I don’t know, but it might be possible.

          1. sorry a typo. 0,24 sec, not 0,27. The last would happen at 300 and 294,9 kph…

        2. In the ideal world scenario where the Merc was doing 320kph through the whole straight; and McLaren doing 315 the whole straight (in fairness; you hit top speed fairly early on that straight) then the Merc would complete the straight in 14.62s. The McLarens would do 14.86s, so yes it’s worth about 2-3 tenths.

  4. I will put my ten cents on a rosberg pole (given Lewis’ grid penalty), followed by button-schu-webber-vettel, Alonso’s place will be determined by Lewis factor where he ends up on saturday.

    1. Considering how fast Vettel was in the second practice session. I think he will be on pole tomorrow.

  5. Dear oh Dear…Ferrari!!

    This is bad. Hope the rain comes along during the race..at least Alonso will have a shot at the podium then!!

    The clock is ticking for Stefano..

    1. That just makes no sense. Stefano seems to be a strong team leader. He isn’t at fault for the car not working properly, he’s no engineer.

      1. A team principle is responsible for the performance of the team. If the car isnt working properly, the responsibility still lies with the team principle, because he is incharge of the team.

        If you are a Managing Director of a company that sells TVs, but your TVs are **** and nobody buys them..who’s fault is it? Yes it could be the Technical departments fault, but as MD, you are responsible for making sure the right people are in the positions, making right decisions, with the right tools and facilities at their disposal.

        Why do managers at football teams always get the sack? They arent the players, but they are responsible to extract the best out of the team at their disposal to meet expectations of the club’s board.

        I work in Project Management for a major global contractor. I have been tasked to ensure my project is delivered on time and within budget. I have had to manage some **** engineers over the years, but as a manager of a project, it is my responsibility to ensure they deliver their work in a manner that is acceptable to my client at an agreed date even if it involves me, sitting on a plane for 14 hours to stand next to their cubicles. If the project fails, I am responsible.

        Get it?

      2. @me4me It doesn’t, IMO. But the rumor stands that he’s about to get ousted. I don’t see the point – but the rumor is flying around…

        1. @me4me @raymondu999 ultimately, as Team Principle, Stefano is responsible for all team affairs, from track operations to manufacturing. Ferrari fired their technical director last year, their head of strategy the year before and probably numerous people in 2009 and they’re still not the leading team. Who else is left to go? Stefano. That’s why there are rumours.

          Personally, I like Stefano. I think he’s a good team principle. But if Luca is looking for a scapegoat, he’s top of the list.

          1. scapegoat, yes. But it’s like saying that 1 salesman having 0 sales is the fault of a CEO. It doesn’t attack the problem.

          2. Absolutely agree with you, I was simply pointing out why there are rumours that he is going to be sacked. I didn’t say that I think he is going to be, or that he should be.

          3. di Motezemelo looks to the team principle to find the people who can deliver towards designing a winning car , and that’s where Stefano has failed so far. They have moved backwards overall from last year , I’m not sure who their chief designer is (and how long for now), but he should be replaced for next years car , he in turn will replace those around him he needs to , and it will all filter down through the ranks. I realise the other teams are always developing , but that’s no excuse for a team such as Ferrari , they just have to be on top of it and develop even more.

    2. Are they running their planned updates? Practice is always a bit of a guessing game, Alonso could still pull something out of his bag of tricks in qualifying.

      1. They said themselves that they expect to be about a second a lap slower than the best even with these updates.

        1. @infy ah, I must have missed that. Cheers.

  6. Mercedes looks like they have a strong chance for the podium this weekend. I’m still predicting Hamilton pole (only to be relegated to 6th). Guessing that Button, Schumacher and Vettel would be fighting for a front row start amongst them.

    Despite all of Felipe’s motivational talks in the past couple of weeks, there doesn’t seem to be a change in his performance. Still a second off his teammate’s time, and looking more likely to get sacked mid season.

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      13th April 2012, 8:55

      I think Massa’s career at Ferrari is dependent upon his results at China and Bahrain (if they race it). I have a feeling he could be pulled shortly after Bahrain…

      1. Sacking someone 4 races in to a season would be extreme, even for Ferrari. I don’t think they’ll sack him this season, his contract is up in December so it makes more sense to just not renew it then to sack him early and have to pay him some sort of severance package.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          13th April 2012, 10:29

          My main reasoning for sacking him early is simply points. He hasn’t scored a single one yet, and he’s 17th in Q2 @ China, which would be outside of points. I doubt he’s going to be much better in the race or in Bahrain. I don’t think Ferrari is willing to continue bleeding points to McLaren/RBR

          1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
            13th April 2012, 10:31

            Though thinking about it, maybe Ferrari realizes 2012 is going to be lost cause anyhow with the F2012 being a complete failure. So maybe Felipe keeps the spot until the end of the season.

          2. He scored less than half the amount of points Alonso scored, both in 2010 and 2011. Even if Alonso had won the WDC in 2010, Ferrari wouldn’t have won the WCC. I don’t think the points argument is valid, based on this. If they wanted someone who was always going to finish 1 place behind Alonso, they’d have brought someone in sooner.

            It could be that the lack of blown diffuser just doesn’t suit his driving style. Looks at Silverstone last year. Alonso won, Massa was 5th. Another driver could have made that a 1-2.

    2. I like the way people now assume MSC to be ahead of Nico in qualy this season.

      1. I like it, too.
        People are so double-tongued!

        However, I do not mind that at all. I’m 26-years old and a Schumi-fan since 1993. So let Schumi win, ladies and gentlemen, in order to praise him highly again in short time! I really like it! :)

    3. @todfod I think there’s a very slim chance mercedes will end up on the podium at the end of the race weekend. Both the Mclarens and Red Bulls have superior race pace, by quite some bit.

      1. To be honest, Schumi looked like he was in with a realistic shot at the podium in Australia. Malaysia the track temps were a little extreme and exaggerated Mercedes’ tyre wear problems. I guess its hard to predict right now.. but after this weekend we should know whether Mercedes is going to be a regular podium contender or not.

        1. Nils Langley (@nilsyfromthenock)
          13th April 2012, 9:45

          I just wonder how many other drivers would be that far off Alonso in the same situation, maybe Alonso is that good, in which case we know he is no Alonso, but who IS he? A kimi? A Heidfeld?

          1. Nils Langley (@nilsyfromthenock)
            13th April 2012, 9:46

            Sorry, that was in response to Rayan’s following comment

        2. Mercedes’ problems aren’t tyre wear. Fundamentally speaking, that is. It’s that their car is a bit of a prima donna on tyres. It has to be set up for a very specific range of temperatures; and that range is a lot smaller than on other cars. They did setup work in a wet Melbourne Friday, and their tyres were just shot in the dry race; then when they did their set up work in the dry Friday in Malaysia, their tyres couldn’t go up to temp in the wet and cold race.

          1. It has to be set up for a very specific range of temperatures; and that range is a lot smaller than on other cars.

            Button said:

            The cold weather made it difficult to understand the car because the tyres weren’t working perfectly. If we make a set-up change and the tyre temp changes by five or 10 degrees, then that change goes out the window.

            According to Jenson, McLarens have a 5-10 degree range, I assume its celsius, and thats a very narrow range, so either Macs are having the same problem (just coping better), or Mercedes has a huge problem, as noone can manage to keep tyre temperatures constant.

            My opoinion is that Pirelli made challenging tyres this year, and the only team that has them working is Sauber, all other teams have problems with tyres, but Merc have the biggest.

    4. why to wait for mid season…hope massa is dropped after chinese gp…iam a fan of massa..but have to accept that he is going from bad to worse indicating that he is at present not even fit for a 2nd fiddle in ferrari……….

    5. Hamilton will start from fifth if he gets pole. not sixth

      1. No. 1 + 5 = 6.

        1. +1 hahahaha

          1. +2 hehehe

  7. Has there ever been a day at that track with the sun shining?
    I get the feeling the F1 cars actually clean the chinese air…

    1. @dennis I think the factories will be shut down for the rest of the weekend now so it should be a little brighter for Saturday and Sunday, provided it doesn’t rain!

      1. So cleaner air, less resistance and more oxygen, should mean even higher top speeds at least theoretically.

  8. Intersting analysis by Gary Anderson regarding drivers race pace, Hamilton comfortably was the quickest overall in his race stint, the Red Bulls were lapping in the 1.43’s and on a couple of occassions ,only dipping into the 1.42’s. JB was lapping pretty much identical to the RBR’s. Hamilton however was lapping consistantly in the 1.42’s and and only on a couple of occassions lapped in the 43,s bracket.

    Overall, despite his grid penalty, i expect Hamilton’s going to be tough to beat.

    Source for Laps from FIA website: http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/chn-session2-times.pdf

    1. I hope you are right ,would be great to see a strong race from Lewis

    2. Thats interesting, but that raises some questions (at least for me).
      We have seen, that Lewis was mutch faster than Jenson in FP2, but Keith’s article did not say, if Button went out on the softer compund, and also Paddy Lowe said, that McLaren had a ‘big sampling array’ on Lewis’ car.
      So the questions are:
      Had both Mac drivers had the upgrades today, or they were just testing it on car no. 4?
      Did RedBull stepped up that mutch in three weeks, so they are right behind a Mclaren and in fornt of the other?

  9. I got the feeling the margins between the field were increasing in this GP, but comparing to the other previous Friday’s it’s about the same (I as just looking to the cars within 1s of the fastest session time).
    Nevertheless I’m getting the felling that the pack will not be as close on Qualifying as in the 2 previous GPs.
    Let’s wait and see…

  10. Is it just me, or have HRT made up a fair bit of time on Marussia and Catherham? Well, I guess we’ll see in quali & the race.

    1. It really seems they are getting closer but as always nothing more than speculation. Although I strongly believe that HRT will be one of the teams, if not the team, that will most improve the most this season … if they don’t hit financial trouble at some point…

      1. I have to clarify that for me its only speculation since it is Friday practice and we never know for sure the “true” pace

      2. Sometimes I wonder whether practice times are more representative for those at the back of the grid, I don’t know why, but I do wonder…

        Most improved eh? Well, they started from way back, so they can, and indeed, need to improve a lot… LOL

        1. That’s precisely why I think they can have the biggest improvement step, because they started from way down, with no actual data and the only way is up ;-)

  11. Guess all I have left is hope. Hope that Schuey and Vettel will do something to stop McLaren. Hope that Massa won’t be fired halfway through.


    1. So hard to know what to say about Massa. I feel as though if I met him I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye, I just wouldn’t know what to say. It’s sad.

      1. Alain (@paganbasque)
        13th April 2012, 18:04

        Its sad to see how much is Massa suffering. I dont recognize him, he used to be so fast and competitive but he seems to be absolutely lost. :(

  12. Things do look good for Mercedes but then again, things usually do. Rarely works out that way though.

  13. i think redbull have a chance of a win here, merc will fall away in the race, but hamilton will be behind the redbulls at the start, and redbulls race pace could hold him up for the win. then there is button also, who could qualify in the top 3 ahead of redbull.

  14. Now I see why people were protesting the mercedes whatever it’s called innovation. It does make the car fast. Imagine if Mclaren or RBR had that advantage, it’s be like, see ya….

    1. It isn’t nearly as effective in the race.

      1. Yeah, but look at last year. RBR locked out the front row and boom game over pretty much. pole means a win more often than not.

  15. P2 it may be, but looking back to malaysia, schumi was over 3 tenths behind hamilton in the same session. in Q3 at malaysia, schumi was less than 2 tenths behind hamilton. if the merc improves 1 tenth relative to the (most likely fastest) mclaren again, we might see schumi on pole by 3 tenths of a second :O no1 should kid themselves, schumi is favorite for pole, especially after his lap in P2 included an error in the last corner. my guess is hes good for 4th on race pace.

  16. Since Alonso arrived at Ferrari he has Massa in a Vulcan mind meld, except this meld is to melt Massa and not get knowledge from Alonso..lol.It has worked beautifully. There you have A-Lonso 1 full second ahead of Massa. Massa needs to be told he should not break in a specific corner?? are you f….g kidding me? get out Massa..

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