McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton topped the order in FP2, again leading from Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton carried on where he left off in the morning, fastest of anyone, though by an increased margin, 0.274 up on Vettel. Mark Webber was again third quickest, followed by Felipa Massa and Fernando Alonso in the Ferraris. Michael Schumacher was sixth for Mercedes ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. Jenson Button was eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, with Paul di Resta rounding out the top ten for Force India.
With track temperatures at Interlagos reaching 49°C, the cars hit the track immediately the pit lane light turned green. Fastest in the initial stages was Webber with a time of 1:16.000. While most runners were working with the hard tyre, Vitaly Petrov and Daniel Ricciardo continued to gather data with the experimental 2013 compound.
Hamilton briefly took top spot before Vettel took over with 1:15.226 but then the migration to the medium tyre began. Romain Grosjean was the first man under 1m15s with 1:14.994 before Lewis Hamilton set 1:14.026 with 39 minutes of the session remaining. That time would stay top until the end of the session, though others would close the gap.
Outside the top ten Nico Hülkenberg was 11th, ahead of Räikkönen, Bruno Senna, Sergio Pérez, Kamui Kobayashi and Daniel Ricciardo. Pastor Maldonado was 17th, though in the high-mileage session managed a colossal 47 laps. Behind him came Jean-Eric Vergne, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Pedro de la Rosa, Timo Glock, Charles Pic and once again Narain Karthikeyan brought up the rear. Pic was the only casualty of the session, an alternator problem ending his session 20 minutes early.
“It’s been a positive first day – I hope we can maintain our form or even progress it tomorrow,” said Hamilton afterwards. “We’re certainly looking strong, but this place can be so tough on tyres that it’s hard to make any accurate predictions at this stage.”