Sebastian Vettel has re-written the script for this weekend by topping timesheets at the second Formula One practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Behind him was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, getting himself up to second on a weekend when Ferrari were thought to have dropped back as far as sixth among the teams and McLaren or Mercedes GP to be the dominant players.
In a session in which dark clouds loomed over the circuit, several teams experienced extreme tyre wear and vastly slower lap times when switching to the softer compound – a development that could have big ramifications for race strategy on Sunday.
Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg was third-placed on the unofficial timesheets while Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber was fourth in a relatively incident-free session that, like the morning one that preceded it, saw absolutely no show-stopping encounters with the famous ‘Wall of Champions’.
Fifth was Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa, with Force India’s Adrian Sutil in sixth, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in seventh and Renault’s Robert Kubica in eighth. Hamilton had topped the first session by holding off a late-charging Michael Schumacher for Mercedes GP.
Instead the seven-time world champion came a subdued ninth with Sutil’s team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi occupying the last top-ten slot. Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button, complaining of tyre graining, could do no better than 11th.
Reliability problems flummoxed Lotus’ Jarno Trulli once again, leaving him needing a gearbox change, and he only made it out on track for the final moments of the session.
In the first session, drivers were initally cautious on a dirty surface that hogged the headlines the last time the F1 circus was in town and a wide variety of people took off-track excursions at various points around the circuit.
Button kept himself ahead of Schumacher with a fastest time of 1:18.127 – 0.158 seconds ahead of the man who replaced him at his former team. Hamilton was third, a little more than two tenths of a second behind his team-mate following a late charge by the Mercedes driver.
Rosberg was fourth ahead of Vettel in fifth with Kubica sixth and and Alonso seventh. He was run close by Liuzzi in eighth while Williams team-mates Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top 10.
Webber was 14th-fastest while Virgin’s Lucas di Grassi spent much of the session in the garage after stopping out on track.
Practice two times
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:16.877
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:16.963
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes: 1:17.151
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:17.273
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:17.401
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:17.415
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:17.522
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:17.529
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes: 1:17.688
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:17.903
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:17.961
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:18.385
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:18.447
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:18.582
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:18.658
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:19.142
- Sebastien Buemi: Toro Rosso: 1:19.168
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:19.274
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:19.969
- Karun Chandhok, HRT: 1:20.879
- Bruno Senna, HRT: 1:21.097
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:21.346
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:21.488
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:21.577
Practice one times
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:18.127
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:18.285
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:18.352
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:18.356
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:18.549
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:18.662
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:18.726
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:19.097
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:19.282
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:19.313
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:19.373
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:19.511
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:19.549
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:19.609
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:20.186
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:20.320
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:20.584
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:20.823
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus-Cosworth: 1:21.869
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:21.977
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:22.543
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:22.701
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:22.713
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: no time