Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel carried over his form from FP1, finished Friday afternoon practice top of the timesheets.
Having won the last three races, Vettel started preparations for the Indian Grand Prix in good form, setting the fastest lap in Friday morning practice before repeating the feat on Friday afternoon. Vettel’s best time of FP2 was 1:26.221, a tenth quicker than team-mate Mark Webber, and over half a second ahead of Red Bull’s closest rivals. In contrast to the morning session, FP2 was busy from the start. Teams began the session continuing their work with the hard compounded tyre, before switching to the soft Pirelli in the second half of the session.
With track temperature approaching 40°C, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the early front-runner, with a time of 1:27.772. By the halfway mark Vettel was back in the lead, having dropped the benchmark to 1:27.256, three-tenths faster than his best time of the morning. Though grip levels were improving the track still caught out a succession of drivers with slides and spins a common sight.
At the halfway point the first drivers to take to the softer tyres were Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Rosberg and the Lotus pair of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. The performance gap between the two compound was pronounced, the order changing by the lap. When Vettel appeared on the yellow-banded option with the session moving into its last half-hour, he soon took a second off his previous best with a time of 1:26.221. With the field largely settling into long runs, there was no further movement in the final thirty minutes of the session.
Behind Vettel and Webber, Alonso finished FP2 third for Ferrari, two-tenths quicker than Rosberg’s Mercedes. Räikkönen was fifth and then came the McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, sixth and seventh respectively. Nico Hülkenberg was eighth for Force India, ahead of Grosjean, with the Williams of Bruno Senna rounding-out the top ten.
Paul di Resta was 11th in the second Force India, ahead of Sauber’s Sergio Pérez. Michael Schumacher was 13th for Mercedes ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso. Felipe Massa was 15th for Ferrari, one place ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber. Pastor Maldonado took 17th position for Williams with Vergne’s Toro Rosso 18th. Then came the two Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, followed by Pedro de La Rosa’s HRT, Timo Glock for Marussia and Narain Karthikeyan in the other HRT. Charles Pic’s Marussia bought up the rear.
“The track improvement was quite big today, it was dusty to start and improved lap by lap, so I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow the order is different but we’ve had worse Fridays, so I am happy,” said Vettel. “We need to keep working and improve a little bit overnight.”