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Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull controlled proceedings as second practice took place for the Korean Grand Prix. Amid ideal weather conditions, Mark Webber was second from Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. Sauber’s Sergio Pérez lost just under one hour due to an actuator problem.
Not only was more rubber laid down on the Korea International Circuit this afternoon, but a different type as Pirelli’s Super Soft products were rolled out of their blankets. However, because of the high graining at the track which debuted on the Formula 1 calendar in 2010, the whole field was highly wary of saving tyres.
With the pure pace of each car still disguised by setups and above all else fuel loads, Vettel sprinted to a quickest lap time of 1:38.832. This edged out his team-mate by just three hundredths of a second, with Alonso a sizeable three tenths off the pace of his nearest championship rival who after Japan is only four points in arrears.
Other had a more difficult time. Caterham ran into trouble with both cars, with a right-rear puncture for Vitaly Petrov forcing the team to modify its programme so as not to waste sets of tyres unnecessarily. At Sauber, Pérez hoped to rejoin from the pits but failed to do so; he had ground to a halt in the middle sector of the lap with an actuator issue, losing crucial setup-adjusting opportunities in the process.
Force India were not without their issues, either, as Nico Hülkenberg reported rising temperatures behind his seat. The reason for this overheating is yet to be confirmed, but the German still led the way for his team in ninth position. Behind him, Kimi Räikkönen broke into the top ten while running the new-look Coandă exhausts which cause exit gases to evacuate upwards before curving back towards the diffuser; as Romain Grosjean started the day with the more conventional system on his car, the squad was able to run a back-to-back comparison and will now choose a path to follow for Saturday’s qualifying session and the race on Sunday.
Red Bull again reaped the rewards of the Double DRS addition which sprouted up in Singapore while Ferrari trialled various versions of rear wing en route to third position with Alonso and sixth for Suzuka podium finisher Felipe Massa. Schumacher made the top five for Mercedes but may be called before the stewards after angrily waving at and swerving in the direction of Pedro de la Rosa, whose own session had already been compromised because of rear end problems with his HRT.
After the 90 minutes, marshals attended to a piece of artificial grass which had become dislodged and was a potential hazard at the final corner, where the kerbs have been flattened down ahead of this weekend’s third Grand Prix on the peninsula.
Saturday’s final practice session in Korea begins at 11am local time (BST +8) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report
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|1.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:38.832||33|
|2.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:38.864||33|
|9.||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||01:39.739||33|
|15 May||Tost: Drivers need to perform exceptionally|
|15 May||Mixed feelings over penalty points system|
|14 May||Mateschitz: Nothing to do with racing|
|12 May||We can be happy with fourth, says Vettel|
|2012 South Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix|
|16 Oct '12||F1 video: BBC team learns ‘Gangnam Style’|
|16 Oct '12||Hamilton: There is no rift with Button|
|16 Oct '12||Button denies negative Hamilton comments|
|15 Oct '12||F1 video: Vettel celebrates victory in Korea|
|11 May||Vettel not dejected after missing pole|
|11 May||Video: Vettel swaps job with race engineer|
|10 May||Vettel expects similar number of pit-stops|
|10 May||Vettel moves ahead in second practice|
|19 May||Hamilton: We must keep focusing on races|
|19 May||Video of the Day: LEGO Ferrari Formula 1 car|
|18 May||Rosberg hopes to capitalise on one-lap pace|
|18 May||Video of the Day: A closer look at braking|
|More Sebastian Vettel photos|