Red Bull Racing World Champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the second free practice session in Valencia.
Vettel managed a time of 1: 39.334 with half an hour of the session remaining, having just switched to running on the softer of the two available tyre compounds. Vettel’s fastest lap came shortly after the debris of an earlier crash had been cleared: Pedro de la Rosa ended up in the barriers at Turn 14 – his HRT appeared to understeer on the exit and drive straight into the wall.
Behind Vettel, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was a tenth off the pace, followed by Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg completing the top ten. In a busy session with most drivers doing long runs on both tyre compounds, Heikki Kovalainen completed the most mileage with 38 laps, and de la Rosa aside, Kobayashi the least with 20 laps.
Earlier in the session Jenson Button had been the first man to set a time below 1m40s this weekend. Putting on a set of soft tyres early in proceedings, his lap of 1:39.990 briefly held top spot before being beaten by Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. Significantly, Rosberg was able to do his time on the harder compound. After Rosberg, Alonso led briefly before Vettel set his quick lap.
Several drivers had spins or off-track moments, most notably Sergio Pérez who finished up facing the wrong way in his Sauber at Turn 17.