Massa takes over at top in China

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was the fastest man on soft tyres in the second free practice session ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Massa’s time of 1:35.340, set around the hour mark was sufficient for him to finish FP2 the fastest man at the Shanghai International Circuit. Behind him a mixed order provided very little indication of form. The Lotus of Kimi Räikkönen was second, a tenth down on the Brazilian but three tenths up on the other Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Fourth was this morning’s pace-setter Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Jenson Button was sixth for McLaren, just in front of Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes. Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were eighth and ninth respectively for Force India with World Champion Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top ten in the second Red Bull

The session had begun with every indication of Mercedes continuing their dominance from the morning’s running. With most cars heading directly into runs when the track opened, Rosberg was leading at the 15 minute mark with 1:37.463, backed-up by team-mate Hamilton.  The session was over before it begun, however,  for Max Chilton whose Marussia stopped out on track, while others cars had a succession of slides and spins.

The order began to move around as runners switched to the soft compound unusually early, keen to gather data with a tyre not as yet used for racing this season. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the first to try the option but he was soon followed by Webber, who duly went sixth-tenths under Rosberg, the new benchmark being 1:36.092. It was as short-lived advantage as Rosberg switched to the soft tyre and hit back with 1:35.819. Meanwhile Williams finally got Valtteri Bottas running. The Finn’s car having had difficulty firing up.

With drivers preparing for long runs in the second half of the session, it was Räikkönen and Massa who popped in the quickest times with the Brazilian going quickest of anyone on the day with 1:35.340 before heavy tyre wear took it’s toll, resulting in the leaders gradually losing pace across their as the session progressed. Several cited the wear as excessive, though Pirelli have since suggested they expect the track to evolve and the problems to lessen as the weekend progresses.

FIA Formula One Chinese Grand Prix 2013 - Free Practice 2 Times

1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:35.340
2 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:35.492
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:35.755
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.819
5 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:36.092
6 Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.432
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.496
8 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:36.514
9 Paul di Resta Force India 1:36.595
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:36.791
11 Sergio Pérez McLaren 1:36.940
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:36.963
13 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber 1:37.103
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:37.206
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:38.127
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:38.185
17 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:38.211
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:38.276
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:38.725
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:39.271
21 Charles Pic Caterham 1:39.814
22 Max Chilton Marussia 1:43.227