Vettel And Red Bull Set Ominous Pace In Korea


Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished with a dominant 1-2 in second practice ahead of the Korean Grand Prix, suggesting a repeat of their Suzuka showing could be on the cards. Vettel was comfortably the fastest man on soft tyres before holding off his teammate when they switched to the super-softs.

Webber led at the half-hour mark, getting down to a 1:39.404, but Vettel knocked him off the top of the leaderboard with a 1:39.089, the first man to go quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s benchmark from this morning.

Midway through the session, the super-soft tyre runs began but Sergio Perez didn’t get far into his when his Sauber lost power coming out of turn ten. His 2013 teammate Jenson Button had no such problems but he could only split the Red Bulls with a 1:39.219, a situation that would be corrected moments later when Webber broke into the 1:39s, restoring Red Bull’s superiority.

Despite leading Webber two thirds of the way through the lap, Michael Schumacher came in half a second slower to go fourth but Sebastian Vettel had no issues in the final sector, enabling him to edge in front of his teammate with a 1:38.832, three hundredths quicker.

With just under half an hour remaining, Fernando Alonso became the final driver to sample the super-softs following Lewis Hamilton’s failure to improve on a 1:39.717, and the championship leader will have been encouraged by the outcome as he sneaked in front of Button for third, although the three tenth gap to the Red Bulls may be slightly concerning.

Schumacher’s loss of time in the final sector ensured he’d finish fifth with Felipe Massa completing the top six in the second Ferrari. Nico Rosberg was seven tenths off the pace in seventh with Lewis Hamilton’s soft tyre run quick enough for eighth, his super-softs not producing a quicker time. Despite missing FP1, Nico Hulkenberg finished a competitive ninth for Force India with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean close behind in the updated Lotus.

Bruno Senna shook off a spin at turn twelve to finish twelfth overall ahead of Paul Di Resta with the Saubers and Toro Rossos next up. Pastor Maldonado was a disappointing eighteenth in the second Williams while Heikki Kovalainen led the backmarkers for Caterham.