May 10, 2013, 9:41 AM EDT
Sebastian Vettel has put his miserable result in FP1 behind him to finish with the quickest time in the second free practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The defending world champion looked strong in the dry conditions, finishing 0.017 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in second, and Mark Webber also impressed to come third for Red Bull, also within one-tenth of Vettel’s time.
Many drivers went out early in order to make up for the time lost in FP1 due to rain, and it was obvious from the outset that Red Bull and Ferrari would be vying for top spot. Lewis Hamilton did lead briefly, but a slight spin proved that he was pushing too hard, and he could only finish sixth in the end. Force India suffered worse fortune, with Paul di Resta having a tire failure which forced him to pull over at pit exit.
Lotus had a mixed practice as Kimi Raikkonen ran well to finish fourth, but Romain Grosjean could only come home in P18, ahead both Caterham and Marussia drivers, with that battle appearing to be evenly-matched heading into qualifying tomorrow. Felipe Massa backed up his P2 in FP1 with a fifth-placed finish, with Nico Rosberg ending up behind his teammate in P7. Scuderia Toro Rosso appear to have made the biggest gains during the break, with Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo coming P9 and P11 respectively; a result which the team will be very pleased with.
Less pleased with their development will be McLaren and Williams, both of whom required a big step forward for the Spanish Grand Prix. Jenson Button finished down in P12 with his teammate one place further back, whilst Valtteri Bottas outperformed Pastor Maldonado once again in the Williams, with the Finn finishing in 14th whilst last year’s race winner Maldonado could only finish 16th.
Practice suggests that Red Bull and Ferrari are once again the teams to beat, with Lotus and Mercedes chasing closely. The small difference between Vettel, Alonso and Webber suggests that these could be the three drivers battling for the win this weekend, all having previously won at the Circuit de Catalunya. It all points towards a thrilling qualifying and race.
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