Vettel takes charge in second practice
11 October 2013 – Sebastian Vettel moved ahead during second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday afternoon. The Red Bull driver, who recorded a best time of 1:33.852 on Pirelli's Medium compound tyre, led outgoing team-mate Mark Webber by 0.168 seconds, with Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg completing the top three positions.
As was the case in the opening 90 minute session, Mercedes and Red Bull quickly found a rhythm, with Vettel this time setting the pace during the early Hard tyre runs. And when the switch to the Medium rubber arrived, the German remained ahead, despite losing his first effort due to waved yellow flags for a Fernando Alonso spin.
Webber ultimately got closest to Vettel, who can secure a fourth successive world title this weekend, while Rosberg took over the mantle from team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Räikkönen held on to fourth after running wide at the Dunlop Curve and beaching his car in the gravel trap, two tenths clear of Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean.
Hamilton had to make do with sixth after setting the pace in opening practice, the Briton edging out Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo. The final top ten positions were filled by Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Alonso, the latter of which suffered his aforementioned incident at Degner 2 shortly after switching to the Medium tyre.
There were further incidents throughout the field, with drivers still finding the limits of the Suzuka circuit. Sergio Pérez's off was arguably the most dramatic, having been sent wildly into the Turn 13 barriers after touching a grass verge upon entry, while Pastor Maldonado's disastrous opening day ended in the Degner gravel trap.
Saturday's third and final practice session at the Suzuka circuit begins at 11am local time (GMT +9) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature