Sebastian Vettel returned to the top of the timesheets after going fastest in the second practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.
After a low-key outing in the first disrupted practice session, Vettel posted the fastest time this afternoon. His best lap was a tenth faster than Mark Webber’s effort, with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in third.
All three enjoyed a time at the top as they evaluated the prime and option tyres for the weekend. Rosberg was one of the first leading contenders to fit a set of option tyres, and went fastest. His time was eclipsed by Mark Webber, before Vettel got the better of his team mate. However, the two Red Bulls appeared very closely matched on the longer runs.
Lewis Hamilton confirmed the strong pace Mercedes has this weekend, and rounded out the top four. He was ahead of Raikkonen’s replacement for the next two races, Heikki Kovalainen, who posted the fifth fastest time. His team mate, Romain Grosjean, could only go eighth fastest.
They were split by the two Saubers, with Esteban Gutierrez once again getting the better of Nico Hulkenberg. Meanwhile, this morning’s pace setter, Fernando Alonso was tenth, one place behind McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Unlike the earlier session that was delayed by fog and problems with the medical helicopter, the second session passed largely without incident. However, Max Chilton suffered a brake failure that saw him spin off the circuit at the final corner, with his car taking considerable time to be recovered by a snatch tractor.
It was a difficult day for Marussia, with Bianchi and Chilton finishing six and seven seconds respectively off the pace of their closest rivals, Caterham.