Button leads Vettel in second practice in Spain

2012 Spanish Grand Prix second practice

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Jenson Button was the quickest driver on Friday at the Spanish Grand Prix.

For the second session in a row Sebastian Vettel was second-fastest for Red Bull.

Fernando Alonso led the early running on hard tyres. But several teams made an early switch to the softer rubber, beginning with the two Toro Rossos. Vettel’s soft-tyre run put him fastest initially on a 1’23.563.

Button had complained of “unbelievable” understeer when lapping on the hard tyres. He looked much more at ease with the softs, and took over at the top from Vettel with a lap of 1’23.399.

Romain Grosjean set the fastest time in the first sector but caught Massa and Pic at the end of his lap and lost time, crossing the line with a 1’23.964.

Team mate Kimi Raikkonen pipped his effort by less than five hundredths of a second. That came just moments after Mark Webber had slithered off the track at turn four, and dumped a large quantity of gravel on the track when he returned.

Alonso abandoned his first run on soft tyres so that having been fastest earlier in the session he ended it 14th.

Several drivers struggled for grip in the race simulation stints at the end of the session. Lewis Hamilton went off twice at turn 13, Bruno Senna following him off on one occasion. Senna then had a spin of his own at turn 12.

Narain Karthikeyan failed to set a time as has team tried to solve the electrical problem experienced in the first session. He emerged from the pits only to coast to a stop at turn three.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’23.399 38
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’23.563 0.164 38
3 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’23.771 0.372 41
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’23.909 0.510 32
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’23.918 0.519 32
6 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’23.964 0.565 37
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’24.065 0.666 34
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’24.080 0.681 36
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.214 0.815 41
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’24.365 0.966 22
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’24.418 1.019 35
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.422 1.023 32
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’24.468 1.069 40
14 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’24.600 1.201 33
15 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’24.688 1.289 30
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.733 1.334 34
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.769 1.370 37
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’25.047 1.648 42
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’26.296 2.897 36
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’26.740 3.341 35
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.314 3.915 27
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.664 4.265 30
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’28.235 4.836 26
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth No time 2

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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52 comments on “Button leads Vettel in second practice in Spain”

  1. So as I understood, Alonso didn’t set a time on option tire?

    1. I think he did, but it was slower than the one on the hard compound.

    2. Alonso did a second timed lap on options which was his fastest, but by then his tyres were past their prime.

      1. No. You are lying. He did his fastest time on the hards, before vergne, vettel, Hamilton , etc improve it becuase they were doing their laps with the soft tires.

        1. “lying”… perhaps he just made a mistake in his comment?

          1. SubSailorFl
            11th May 2012, 18:11

            Well done.

        2. I’m not lying. Possibly I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Alonso’s early lap on hards was sandwitched by the Toro Rosso’s option runs.

  2. thejudge13+
    11th May 2012, 14:54

    Jenson does best when the car is well balanced. If he can dial a car into a track well it should be Barcelona after extensive track time when testing here early in March

    1. sounds like Jenson is only happy on the softs, even with Jenson driving expect a lot of pit-stops.

    2. There we go again! Throughout last two races all has been calm on JB and his fans. Now with a Friday lead they have it again to hail him as the most “intelligent, best tyre Manager etc, etc.” in F1

      1. Except he didn’t really say any of that.

      2. No one has even hinted at that… where are you coming from.
        The comments are about JB had big problems on the hard tyres, he could not find a set-up and then on the softs he goes top of the times sheet, it’s FP2 and nothing to do with conserving tyres. If he can’t find a set-up for the hard tyres in Spain which all the teams know well it is a little bit worrying.

      3. Did you actually read his post?

    3. Every driver does best when the car is balanced…

      1. Itsgoingtobe3
        11th May 2012, 15:38

        Some don’t need it as finely balanced as Jenson may to be at their best. I think that was the point.

        1. So that’s far from a compliment. :(

          1. bernieslovechild
            11th May 2012, 16:40

            Appeared to just be a statement of fact.

            If Jenson can do well it should be here – I thought was the point

  3. Ferrari looked strong on hards, but seems useless on softs.
    McLaren the other way around.
    Red Bull on the other hand seems competetive on both compounds.
    I know its too early to get the full picture and McLaren will have time to get around their understeer problems on the hard tyres, but even though Vettel hasn’t topped any of the sessions, he seems to be the man to beat so far.

    1. Yeap, totally agree, Mclaren and Ferrari seem to like the opposite compounds to each other.

    2. I think they got their problems sorted out…they were doing very consistent lap times in the end

      1. As far as I understood they were running on the soft tyres in the end of the session. Which they seem to be very competetive on. Its the hard tyres that are the problem.

        1. oh i see…thanks!

          1. According to the Autosport they were doing long runs on hard tyres at the end of the session (McLaren, that is)

          2. Yes it was the softs, If autosport reports the hard tyre they are wrong.

    3. Working as a commentator for BBC, Alguersuari said: “McLaren look very competitive – they did a lot of laps on the soft tyre (in the race-simulation runs at the end of the session).

      “I think it will between McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus.”


      1. “I think it will between McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus.”

        I think any of us here at f1fanatic could have given that expert insight

  4. An interesting friday;

    Conclusions; It is very tight between the top teams, and the 3 week gap seems to have tightened the grid further. On lap quai pace, i think Mclaren look the fastest, with RBR, Merc, lotus following. In race pace however, Mclaren again look very strong, but seem to have a bigger advantage over the RBR’s. Hamilton, especially on the hards was mighty in the long race stint. In the long stint on softs, it was more accurate to look at button as Hamilton’s tyres had been used for his previous 2 hot laps whereas JB’s were fresh.

    Overall, an unpredictable weekend, here we go!

    1. Not sure if it is the 3 week gap that has tightened the grid, or if it is the fact that they all tested here a lot and so the teams have a ton of data to go by for this race.

    2. I think it will / has widened if anything.

  5. Itsgoingtobe3
    11th May 2012, 15:27

    Go fingerboy! I’m missin the crazy frog and the Big Bad Wolf!

  6. It’s really difficult to draw conclusions out from today’s practices but it seems to me that Ferrari has now a much better race pace on the hard compound. However, aside from the good lap time during practice 1, Alonso looked like he was fighting constantly against his car so its hard to tell if it has really improved its performance.

    McLaren looks in very good shape. They are my candidates to win this GP.

  7. Well, how can we read into both FP1, FP2 results?

    Wake me up when Q1 starts.

  8. Keith! You’ve left 23rd out!

  9. Keith, is it possible to insert in the time table a column about tyres used? If that info is available of course.

    1. It’s second practice, so practically everyone set their fastest times on soft tyres.

  10. So another weekend where its all about tyres :(

    All you ever hear about now is tyres, tyres, tyres, Its getting really tedious.

    1. SubSailorFl
      11th May 2012, 18:15

      If they were able to drive flat out and tires lasted longer during the race I’m pretty sure it would still be an issue of grip and times for most.

    2. You are not wrong, tryes, tyres, tyres….
      but that is what we have, it’s not going to change any time soon. Pirelli must be loving it…. it is the Pirelli show.
      Might as well get use to it.

    3. I know that feeling, all we ever hear about now is whinings, whinings, whinings, Its getting really tedious

  11. Tires was made to make the show more interesting and they certainly are making it more fun. But the good old days of testing need to come back soon or the team that didnt get a fast car to start will never improve.,,,…missing those ferrari winning days..LOL…

    1. @ducatiusa As long as it’s fair I’m not really bothered how much testing there is. I kinda like the idea that the teams barely have enough time to evaluate their vehicle of choice but still produce incredible machines regardless.

  12. Sounds a bit drastic from Button! I’m sure they will sort it so the car drives well on both compounds but it will be a nightmare if they can’t.

  13. Vettel and Red Bull are setting consistently fast times, and Mclaren seem to be struggling with understeer, perhaps brought on by their new nose and front wing giving them a lack of front-end downforce. Lotus don’t look as quick as they did at Mugello but it is just FP after all so they may still be quick.
    I think Vettel may win again, with Lotus & Räikkonen close behind. Unless Mclaren cure this understeer problem we may see a similar situation as that in Bahrain, and as for Mercedes who knows…

    1. Mclaren seem to be struggling with understeer, perhaps brought on by their new nose and front wing giving them a lack of front-end downforce.

      Totally the opposite in fact.
      They suffer more in Bahrain with understeer and the higher nose mean more front end and more front end downforce.

      All teams except a few are suffering with understeer it is not unique to Mclaren

      1. @bbt – Only stating what Jenson Button himself was reporting, on the hard compound anyway. RBR haven’t had many problems since they fixed the exhaust exits in Bahrain, that improved overall downforce and allowed them to take pole & the win.
        Obviously Mclaren suffered with problems in Bahrain, but wasn’t that mainly onset by very high degradation?

        1. @vettel1 We are in agreement Button has suffered with understeer before, but it is nothing to do with the high nose, without the high nose in theory it would have been worse, that is my point.

    2. PS… RBR are one of the teams suffering from understeer.

  14. It is written tires or tyres???

    1. tires in america, tyres anywhere else

      1. @jleigh – America just has to be different

  15. Yep Tires, Tires, Tires…

    “Rosberg says practice was very challenging because of tyre management
    Nico Rosberg, MercedesNico Rosberg has admitted that tyre degradation is worse today than it was during pre-season testing after what he and team-mate Michael Schumacher both described as a “challenging” day for Mercedes.”


    “Jenson Button baffled by hard tyres in Spanish Grand Prix practice
    Jenson Button, McLaren, Catalunya 2012Jenson Button said he was struggling to get the harder tyres working properly during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.”

    “Webber expects several drivers to sit out Q3 to save tyres for Spanish Grand Prix”

    So teams may not even bother with qualification due to tire issues, Pirelli fans must be exited, with their tires grabbing all the spotlight :/

    1. Funny comment from Nico, I seem to remember him saying how great the tyres were.

Comments are closed.