LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY PRACTICE 2
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As it happened: Friday Practice 2
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Albert Park, Melbourne © Sutton
Welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live as we continue to follow the opening day of practice for the 2010 Qantas Australian Grand Prix.
Two weeks ago the Formula 1 season kicked off in Bahrain with a less-than-spectacular grand prix. The desert has been left behind, replaced by the lush green of Albert Park and its wonderful lake.
Melbourne is ready for its petrolhead fix and the fans have turned out in force hoping for action. That action will now continue with second practice for Sunday's 58-lap race.
Robert Kubica © Sutton
Robert Kubica was the surprise front-runner after a busy first 90 minutes of practice earlier today.
His 1m26.927s was certainly not the only story, as Japanese newcomer Kamui Kobayashi did his best to disrupt proceedings, causing two red flags. The first was a case of driver error. Pushing hard for a time, he clipped the bollard marking the apex at Turn 11, ripping off half of the Sauber's front wing. It came to rest in the middle of the circuit and needed to be cleared.
The drama didn't end there, however. Michael Schumacher was on a good lap and knew it. He missed the red flags and set a fastest lap over the line. The time was quickly discounted by race control and the session soon resumed.
After the restart, on his lap out of the pits, Kobayashi braked for Turn 3 and the front wing detached and smashed into a marker board. Debris was scattered everywhere and the red flags were inevitable.
Back on track, Nico Rosberg put the other Mercedes into second place with a quickest lap just 0.199s shy of Kubica, with Jenson Button a strong third, Felipe Massa fourth, Sebastian Vettel in fifth and Fernando Alonso in sixth spot.
Weather conditions have deteriorated drastically since the end of first practice. It is now fully overcast and, with a lack of sunshine, the track temperature will suffer.
The wind has picked up and this will cause the drivers problems with gear ratios and aerodynamic balance.
As seen by the
local rainfall radar
, the main band of rain to the south will not be a factor, but the showers out to the west of Melbourne could mean wet weather running - particularly for the second half of the session.
Motor racing enthusiasts love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.
• Will Renault continue its good early pace in this session, or will the true fuel load story be told?
• Mark Webber finished 14th in first practice. Can he break into the top ten and give himself a good launching pad for Saturday and Sunday at his home event?
• How will the chance of rain impact plans for this afternoon?
Tell the world what you think.
Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.
Broken Sauber wing © Sutton
Some notes ahead of the second session:
• Kamui Kobayashi is set to resume running with his third front wing of the day on the Sauber, having destroyed the first by clattering a cone before the replacement disintegrated on his way out of the pits. The team will hope that the failure was a one-off issue.
• Jarno Trulli had problems with the differential on his Lotus, limiting the Italian to 13 laps as the team developed a work around. "It meant that the car wasn’t quite performing 100% but it’s no big deal, and we were able to put some good laps in and check the car, the balance and the tyres and we’re pretty happy about it – all in all I feel very comfortable in the car,” he said.
• Timo Glock completed just eight laps of the circuit in his Virgin Racing car, which was under repair throughout the session due to a fluid leak. The team has struggled with hydraulic issues since the debut of the VR-01.
• Paul di Resta has handed over the Force India to regular driver Adrian Sutil for this afternoon. The Scot put in a creditable performance on his race weekend debut, finishing 11th quickest overall, four tenths off team-mate Liuzzi.
Bridgestone tyres © Sutton
With a reduced allocation of 11 sets of slick tyres per driver for each weekend this year, and one set of the harder compound choice already discarded after first practice, drivers now have a set of both the harder and softer rubber to evaluate this afternoon.
As tyre degradation under a heavy fuel load is now key to determining the strategy for the race, there is a lot of milage to complete in this second session.
Crucially, the teams also need to know how the car will work with heavy fuel on the softer tyres - the likely strategy for those making it through to the final stage of qualifying.
With this session all about long runs at race pace, the threat of showers later is also likely to get the drivers out for some early runs.
's take on the deteriorating weather: "We can feel spots of rain in the air before practice. Very cloudy and feels like rain (can tell age by how you can 'feel' weather)."
Second practice for the Australian Grand Prix begins in five minutes.
The track temperature is down to 26 Celsius under overcast and threatening skies.
Light spots of moisture are now falling over the circuit. Nothing yet to change the condition of the track.
Given the threatening weather, we can expect the drivers out quickly to put some laps in on a dry track.
As mentioned, rain is the last thing the teams want to see when they plan lengthy stints of dry tyre evaluation.
The rain is falling just slightly heavier in the last minute or two. To the west of the city we can clearly see a shower incoming.
The practice session is underway.
Out they come and it's Sebastien Buemi who leads the charge onto the circuit.
While cars head out on dry rubber, at McLaren they are changing to wet rubber for Lewis Hamilton.
Rain is falling sufficiently to affect grip levels.
The rain is falling heavier still as Buemi, Hulkenberg and Webber circulate Albert Park on slick tyres.
Pedro de la Rosa continues in to a timed lap but these are very slippery conditions for his soft, dry tyres.
Team-mate Kobayashi is also touring slowly on slicks.
The remaining drivers immediately came back into the pits to wait and see what the weather does next.
The Sauber pair continue to tip-toe around, with de la Rosa advising his team that there is too much rain to continue on slicks. He pits.
plan to wait out this shower: "Forecast says rain for about 10 mins so our drivers will be staying in the garage"
shows the thin line affecting the circuit at the moment. Further west more showers are heading n the general direction of the circuit.
Rubens Barrichello is staying in his car while the spots of rain continue.
Jarno Trulli is concerned about the power delivery from his Cosworth engine. He is finding the throttle is not coming on cleanly at the moment.
Force India is waiting to see what the weather does before sending Tonio Liuzzi out for a run. The Italian is in the car and ready to go, but with no tyres fitted.
Tyres are fitted to Sutil's car, however. He heads out on intermediate tyres for a run of laps.
The tight pit lane here means the speed limit will be maintained at 60 km/h all weekend.
Clearly Vitaly Petrov was slightly over that when clocked at 94.6 km/h this morning, costing the Russian a 7,000 Euro fine.
Melbourne pitlane speed limit reduced
The rain has stopped for the time being and Sutil comes straight back into the pits. It's not wet enough out there to run the intermediate tyres.
Nico Hulkenberg is now on track with hard compound slick tyres fitted to the Williams.
His team-mate Barrichello is also out on track. Both drivers start a timed lap to test out the conditions.
Mark Webber joins the Williams duo on the circuit in the Red Bull Renault.
Barrichello comes through to complete his first timed lap. It's 1m31.006s.
Adrian Sutil comes out for a run, as Hulkenberg flashes over the line in 1m32.971s.
Pedro de la Rosa is back out in his Sauber, with the conditions now far more suited to slick rubber.
Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Rosberg are now out there as the Williams drivers pound round on another hot lap. Schumacher joins them.
Renault pair Kubica and Petrov join the runners, along with the McLarens of Button and Hamilton.
Webber is running a set of the soft tyres as Red Bull looks to complete a tyre comparison programme before any further showers hit the circuit.
Felipe Massa heads out with the harder rubber on his Ferrari.
Hulkenberg and Barrichello are trading the quickest time so far. Barrichello leads the field with 1m27.585s.
Robert Kubica goes second quickest, quickly dropped to third as the early times flood in.
Nico Rosberg soon sends the Williams pair down the order with a lap of 1m27.464s, as we see more spots of moisture beginning to fall.
Jenson Button slots in eighth with his first time while Hamilton clocks a 1m27.937s to take fourth.
Rosberg moves the target time further away with 1m26.956s. Barrichello is second, with Kubica third and Hamilton fourth so far.
Jenson Button takes the top time but he is beaten by Hamilton by a fraction, despite a major moment in the final corner.
Hamilton is testing the softer tyres while Button evaluates the harder option.
Michael Schumacher came out for a run of laps, but aborted his timed lap and returned to the pits. He has yet to post a time.
Nico Rosberg comes back into the pits after a short run of two timed laps in the Mercedes.He is fourth at the moment.
Button is much quicker this time around, with a 1m26.076s now the time to beat.
Adrian Sutil goes third with a lap of 1m26.940s in the Force India. This is the first run for the German, having handed his car over to Paul di Resta for the first session.
The drivers are scrambling to get a run completed in case another shower hits the circuit.
Hamilton is on for an improvement with the fastest middle sector.
It's a much better final turn for Hamilton this time and he is now quickest in 1m25.801s - the best time of the event so far.
HRT drivers Senna and Chandhok have yet to run so far.
Vitaly Petrov is now third quickest in his Renault, almost a second off the McLaren pace.
Nico Hulkenberg is on a set of softer tyres and they help him to tenth place with 1m27.545s.
The McLaren pair are now back in the pits after that fairly short run to top the order so far.
The Ferrari duo are currently 14th and 15th quickest after a handful of laps.
Karun Chandhok leaves the pits but 100 metres later he is leaving the car parked at the side of the track. The Indian has stopped.
Chandhok parks on the right side of the track, off the racing line shortly before Turn 1. He is helping the marshals recover the HRT entry to a safe place behind the barrier.
Light spots of moisture are again falling over the circuit.
Jenson Button is out again and is now trying the softer rubber on his McLaren.
Button is pressing on to get a lap on the softs, despite the light rainfall.
Button clocks a 1m26.684s as rain slows his progress despite a committed lap.
The rain is getting heavier, forcing all the drivers back into the pits.
Jaime Alguersuari chose to complete that last lap. He now faces a adventure in getting back to the pits.
Robert Kubica is one of the last drivers to trail back to the pits as the rain falls heavily again.
Replays show that Alguersuari was lucky to keep his Toro Rosso in one piece exiting the final corner of the lap. The rear end snapped sideways and the young Spaniard did well to catch it.
Karun Chandhok has made it back to the pitlane, having supervised the recovery of his broken down HRT machine a few minutes ago.
The enthusiastic fans around Albert Park are braving this shower under whatever shelter they can find.
Jaime Alguersuari is back out on the circuit with a set of intermediate tyres fitted.
Nico Rosberg joins Alguersuari on the circuit for a run in the lightly wet conditions. Alguersuari is on his timed lap now and making the best of it.
Petrov is back out in his Renault to test the greasy conditions.
Alguersuari posts 1m50.524s - 25 seconds slower than a quick dry time.
Petrov is also on intermediate tyres. Team-mate Kubica is also on track, as is Sauber's de la Rosa.
Nico Rosberg comes into the pits ... and drives through and out onto the track again. Mercedes is likely checking the pitlane driving time in preparation for the stops during the race.
pass on news of the conditions: "Nico reporting the white lines on the track are very slippy"
At Williams Rubens Barrichello echoes the white line theory. His race engineer was contemplating a run on intermediates. Rubens' response was that with conditions neither fully wet or dry, he won't learn anything. The experienced Brazilian states that he's well aware of the white line problem without needing to go out onto the circuit to risk the car.
Petrov and Kubica continue to circulate and the Renault team is clearly keen to get some mileage in, despite the tricky grip levels.
Michael Schumacher does feel the need to check out conditions. He is 20th in the standings and unlikely to improve unless the track begins to dry out.
Hamilton's benchmark time of 1m25.801s won't be under threat unless the track dries significantly. It will also take some time for rubber levels to recover from this wet running.
Schumacher reports over the team radio that the front tyres on his intermediates are graining up, so he decides to pit.
The failure to get long runs on slicks in this afternoon could be a big factor in adding drama to the weekend. The teams won't know as much as they would like about how the tyres will behave, making strategy for qualifying and the race harder to call.
The rain appears to have stopped all around the circuit for the moment. Track conditions should slowly improve.
Adrian Sutil endures a hairy moment over the Turn 4 exit kerb that caught out Kazuki Nakajima in last year's race. He keeps the Force India pointing in the right direction and continues.
Track conditions are slowly improving, with the ever-drying line quickly hurting the intermediates.
At the top of the order, Lewis Hamilton is quickest so far with a lap of 1m25.801s, with McLaren team-mate Button second, Petrov a great third, Buemi fourth, Liuzzi fifth and Barrichello in sixth.
Kubica has been lapping extensively on his intermediate tyres and tells the team the rubber is gaining. He is told to stay out and wear the tyre through this phase.
Jaime Alguersuari has completed more laps than any other driver. The Spaniard has been out nearly all the time during the damp part of the session. He is on his 25th tour at the moment.
Alguersuari is continuing his adventure, as he explores the grass at Turn 15. He completes another lap and posts 1m37.509s.
The track is drying out all the time and slick tyre runs aren't too far away providing we have no more rain.
Kubica pits to end his long run on a what are now heavily worn intermediates.
Jaime Alguersuari and Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastien Buemi are continuing to pound round Albert Park on their intermediate tyres.
confirms why most cars are currently in the garage: "Too dry now for the intermediates"
Petrov is heading out for a run in his Renault.
At Williams, Nico Hulkenberg asks over the team radio whether the plan is to stick with the soft option tyres and go as planned, or whether to go for another low fuel run.
He is told that it will likely be a heavy fuel run to gain data for the race, so we can expect the softer tyre then.
Work continues on the cars at Virgin Racing, with Timo Glock's car still being worked on after this morning's oil leak while Lucas di Grassi's car is now also up on stands.
Jaime Alguersuari came back into the pits a short while ago, but is now back out on the circuit for another run of laps.
Petrov is tailing Buemi's Toro Rosso, finally getting past on the run down to Turn 11. He's lapping on intermediates.
Repairs look to be finally completed on Glock's Virgin and he is being readied for a run on intermediates.
Petrov is around nine seconds off the benchmark dry pace as he continues to push on intermediates.
Karun Chandhok's breakdown at the approach to Turn 1 was caused by a gearbox problem. The Indian has changed and is back in civvies, indicating that the problem will take some time to fix.
Chandhok will resume action tomorrow in the final practice session.
De la Rosa has swapped to slicks on his Sauber as dry running gets back underway.
Rubens Barrichello is on track in the Williams, using the soft tyre for this run. Jaime Alguersuari is also out there, but on the more durable hard tyres.
The pace is likely to fall short of that seen early in the session as rubber levels will take time to recover.
The Ferrari pair are out to for a run on the softer tyres.
Red Bull drivers Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber are out on the circuit. Webber is running on soft tyres.
We should see lap times improving soon as more drivers come out to complete runs on slick tyres. Webber improves to 13th with a 1m28.298s.
Odd spots of moisture continue to fall but the drivers are pressing on to get in as much running as possible.
As spots of rain hit Rubens Barrichello's on-board camera, he is clearly not convinced about the suitability of dry tyres at the moment.
He queries whether the track is completely dry. His race engineer informs him that Alguersuari is keeping it on the island using the same tyre compound.
Glock has finally made it out of the Virgin garage and is on to his first timed lap of the afternoon.
Michael Schumacher is back out on track after a lengthy delay in the pits. He improves to 14th quickest with a time of 1m28.716s.
Jenson Button is out in the McLaren, just as the rain picks up pace again.
Light rain is blighting the session for a third time as we move into the last ten minutes of the session. Schumacher does manage to find a marginal improvement and goes 11th with 1m27.298s.
Button is over a second off his earlier pace as he tests the softer rubber. Team-mate Hamilton is also back out.
Schumacher is using these soft tyres to good effect, even as the light spots of rain continue. He moves up to third place with 1m26.522s.
The track is now very busy with 21 cars lapping at the moment.
Sebastian Vettel is poised for a move up the order in the Red Bull. He is 18th at the moment.
Timo Glock is pressing on to recover from his severely limited running and only just caught a major oversteer moment on his latest lap.
Vettel climbs to 15th in the standings with a lap of 1m29.134s.
In the other Virgin car, di Grassi looks almost ready for a short final outing.
Vettel is really motoring on his next lap. A 29.4s first sector is backed up with a solid second sector. But the German happens across Fernando Alonso in the final portion and does not improve.
It's all going wrong for Vettel as he skates sideways into the gravel at Turn 6 on his next lap. He recovers onto the circuit and pits to end his day's work.
Vetrans Barrichello and de la Rosa demonstrate the potential for a lot of disputes with traffic around this relatively tight circuit.
Alonso sets his best time of the session but is only down in 15th and clearly testing race pace.
While one Red Bull driver has been suffering, the other has quietly moved up the order. Mark Webber has slotted neatly into third place with a 1m26.248s lap, behind the two McLarens.
The flag is out to end day one at Albert Park.
Another traffic moment for de la Rosa as he is caught rapidly by both of the McLaren pair. There could be some upset drivers at the Spaniard's door a little later this afternoon.
Michael Schumacher was set to move up from fourth place in the Mercedes. His first two sectors were very good, but he was lost grip in the final two corners. He improved to a 1m26.511s and stayed in fourth.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button put McLaren well on top in the second practice session at Albert Park. Hamilton posted 1m25.801s.
A heavily-disrupted session for the teams to digest, but no one will be happy about the limited dry running.
Mark Webber puts some column inches on tomorrow's Australian newspapers with a good third placed run, with Michael Schumacher fourth.
Vitaly Petrov was fifth, with Buemi sixth, Sutil seventh, Liuzzi eighth, Barrichello ninth and Rosberg rounding out the top ten.
Here's our round-up of the afternoon:
Hamilton tops rain-interrupted FP2
'More of the same' is a summary of the weather prospects for the weekend. We'll have an updated forecast in the next few hours.
Unfortunately the rain spoiled what could have been a great second practice session.
McLaren has started the weekend well, but Michael Schumacher is clearly on form and ready to fight again at the front. Mark Webber ensures local interest for the event but no sign of the Ferrari drivers or Sebastian Vettel - yet.
HRT is struggling once again and the team will have to get on top of its reliability issues soon. Neither driver completed a lap this afternoon.
Can the McLaren pair stay on top tomorrow? Join us for full live coverage of final practice from Albert Park, starting at 02:45 GMT.
Spots of rain
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