Practice Two - Schumacher pips Hamilton to set Shanghai pace

13 Apr 2012

Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to the head of the timesheets during Practice Two here in China on Friday afternoon. On a track that remained dry but cold throughout the hour and a half session, Schumacher lapped in 1m 35.973s, 0.172s ahead of Lewis Hamilton who was just ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton, like team mate Jenson Button, suffered from locking front brakes on his McLaren, notably and unusually on the outer wheel. He lapped in 1m 36.145s, while Vettel was happier with his Red Bull and its revised exhaust system as he posted 1m 36.160s.

Mark Webber had them in his sights with 1m 36.433s for fourth, then came Nico Rosberg on 1m 36.617s in the second Mercedes, McLaren’s Jenson Button on 1m 36.711s, Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 36.956s in the lead Sauber and Paul di Resta on 1m 36.966s in the first Force India. The Scot was one of many to spin in Turn 16, where Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen also rotated, while Turn 14 caught out Williams’ Bruno Senna, Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, and Kobayashi.

Nico Hulkenberg was close to his team mate with 1m 37.191s in the second Force India, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 with 1m 37.316s for Ferrari. Right behind him came Sergio Perez on 1m 37.417s for Sauber, followed by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 37.616s, Raikkonen on 1m 37.836s, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 37.930s and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean on 1m 37.972s. Both Lotus drivers were struggling to generate good tyre temperatures.

Pastor Maldonado was Williams’ leading runner in a disappointing 16th place on 1m 38.176s, as Felipe Massa struggled in what he described as a ‘strange’ handling Ferrari on 1m 38.293s. Senna was next up on 1m 38.783s from Kovalainen on 1m 38.990s.

In the final group, Vitaly Petrov was 19th for Caterham on 1m 39.346s ahead of Timo Glock’s Marussia on 1m 39.651s, Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT on 1m 40.343s, Charles Pic’s Marussia on 1m 40.753s and Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 41.125s in the second HRT.

Glock provided the one real drama of the session when he went off in Turn One and damaged his Marussia’s nose.

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