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Sebastian Vettel moved ahead as Formula 1 practice continued in Valencia on Friday. When the Soft compound tyres were rolled out, the World Champion set a best lap time of 1:39.334, with Nico Hülkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi completing the top three. Pedro de la Rosa experienced a brake failure and suffered a heavy crash at Turn 14.
Although weather forecasters had predicted a brighter afternoon than morning in this part of Spain, conditions were somewhat overcast for the entire 90-minute period. There were a number of new parts on several cars today; these included new mirrors for the Ferraris, revised sidepods for Red Bull and a new version of rear wing for Caterham.
As Mark Webber began his session with a downshift problem, meaning he was struggling to slow down for corners, Jenson Button topped the timesheets and appeared to be on top of his recent problems. Incidentally, McLaren finished this session outside the top ten as the Woking team preferred to work on long-run pace, as opposed to going for quick lap times.
Once again, a number of drivers ran wide at Turn 12, but no incident was more dramatic than the one between Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean; the Frenchman passed on the inside, but locked up and missed the corner, forcing evasive action from the seven-time World Champion. Also close to contact were Charles Pic and Heikki Kovalainen, but it was a strong day for Caterham as the Finn finished in front of Jean-Éric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.
Fernando Alonso, who to the crowd’s delight jumped up to the top spot on several occasions, eventually fell back to seventh position behind the Force India of Paul di Resta which displayed promising pace once again.
It was a worse situation for Alonso compatriot de la Rosa, who washed off little speed before sailing into the tyre barrier at Turn 14; the HRT’s left-front brake disc caught fire moments later and the driver was able to escape unaided.
Of those in the top ten, only Nico Rosberg posted his fastest time on the slower, Medium compound tyre. However, as the order from both sessions has been mixed and just one second covers the first 15 cars, a number of question marks remain heading into Saturday. On both weekend days, ambient temperatures are set to hit 30°C (86°F).
Practice 3 begins at 11am local time (BST +1) on Saturday and can also be followed through the interview GPUpdate.net Live Report
|1.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:39.334||32|
|2.||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||01:39.465||32|
|6.||P. di Resta||Force India||01:39.700||32|
|9.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:39.901||30|
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