LIVE COMMENTARY: 2012 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY PRACTICE TWO
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As it happened: Friday practice two
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Hello again and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live where we continue with coverage and live updates from Interlagos, as the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix weekend kicks into another gear.
Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off five days ago at Austin by topping this morning's first 90-minute session with a fastest lap of 1m14.131s. The Briton edged out championship leader Sebastian Vettel by just 0.009s, with Mark Webber third and Jenson Button in fourth spot.
The top four drivers were covered by a slender margin of 0.086s, while Fernando Alonso was left chasing them hard in the final stages. The Spaniard managed to improve to trim down the gap to 0.261s, so he is doing enough so far to keep the front-runners honest.
Hamilton tops opening Brazilian GP practice
We move on to practice two and the teams will ramp up their efforts for Sunday's 71-lap encounter. More intensive set-up work for the drivers, before they get a chance to let rip with the option compound. Then, in the final 30 minutes we get into the familiar long runs in an effort to find a consistent pace for the race.
Weather conditions remain fine and dry with sunny skies and just one or two wispy bits of cloud around. A light north-westerly breeze is evident and air temperature is above 30 degrees.
Track temperature climbed quickly to 42 Celsius this morning and could potentially rise further, but that will depend if further cloud develops over the next hour-and-a-half.
Back to business for the teams this afternoon, testing the medium and hard compound Pirellis after exploring sets of the 2013 development tyres in the morning session.
Hard tyres are likely to see service for the busy start to the session before the focus switches to how durable the medium rubber will be around this classic circuit.
With the hardest possible allocation on hand to deal with the challenging nature of the track, some drivers are finding limited grip levels while teams also monitor for signs of wear.
Track temperature is a sizzling 49 Celsius with a 32 degree ambient. This will make things easier for the drivers in terms of generating heat into the tyres.
Kovalainen, who is still to secure a 2013 drive, is back in his Caterham for this session having handed it to Giedo van der Garde earlier.
Valtteri Bottas has finished his run for the season as the Friday driver for Williams. Bruno Senna takes over his race car for the remainder of the weekend.
Nico Rosberg is ready to climb aboard his Mercedes and get the afternoon programme going.
Teams will send their drivers out for a run of between six and eight laps typically in the early phase of this session.
The practice session is underway.
Grosjean is one of the first on track in his Lotus.
Ricciardo joins Grosjean on track, followed by Pastor Maldonado.
Jean-Eric Vergne is among the early runners. Bruno Senna joins him, beginning his first tour of the circuit this weekend.
Raikkonen, Button, Petrov, Hamilton, Pic and Perez are all quickly on track for the traditional first run.
Mark Webber joins the circuit, leaving team-mate Vettel in the garage for the time being.
Rubens Barrichello is an interested visitor this weekend, as Vettel heads out onto the racetrack.
Hard tyres are the choice of the pack to begin the afternoon running.
Ricciardo betters Grosjean's early attempt with a time of 1m17.648s.
Vergne slots into fourth spot behind Raikkonen, Button and Perez with a lap of 1m17.624s.
Grosjean sets an early time to beat of 1m16.070s.
Ricciardo continues on for a second timed lap and moves back up to third spot with a time of 1m16.588s.
Webber is next over the line and he takes over with 1m16.000s.
All but the HRT drivers on track for this early run to establish where they are with set-up.
Hamilton comes around in 1m15.893s to head the early list.
Maldonado has run wide at the Descida do Lago after locking up the left front on entry. He recovered and has continued.
Drivers quickly up to speed on the hard tyres, with today's high temperatures helping warm the rubber.
Vettel is in an early 11th spot with his first timed lap - 1m17.422s. He does not improve on his second effort.
Conditions are unlikely to stay like this into the weekend, with teams already worrying about the inclement forecast.
Replays being fed in of Vettel squeezing through past title rival Alonso coming through Mergulho. Both continued.
Massa is the next man to set a benchmark, clocking 1m15.473s.
Schumacher slots into fifth position with a time of 1m15.875s at the completion of his first timed lap.
Rosberg goes one better than his retiring team-mate, placing fourth with 1m15.676s.
Di Resta also recently posted his first time in the session. The Scot is seventh with a lap of 1m16.066s.
Webber is back into the pits at the end of his first run - five laps there for the Australian.
Hulkenberg is already concerned on the team radio after just four laps. 'What happened to the rear?' he asks his race engineer.
Alonso, currently third fastest, continues on a longer run with the hard compound.
Vettel posted the fastest first sector of all on his last lap, but then caught traffic. He has slipped down to 18th position.
Button beats Alonso to third place, topping the final sector time for a 1m15.599s lap.
Vettel goes again and lights up the timing monitor for a second time at the end of the first sector.
Alonso comes around quicker still with a 1m15.274s to temporarily head the list.
And would you believe it? Of course you would. Vettel tops the tree with 1m15.226s after finally getting a clear lap.
Hamilton's latest 1m15.415s is enough for third quickest behind that pair.
The German is some eight laps into his first run. It has taken him a good while to finally get some space. Alonso is just 0.048s back in second.
Schumacher completes another tour and moves up the list to fifth briefly with 1m15.477s.
Button springs up to second fastest with a 1m15.256s, just fractions off the leading time.
So Vettel leads the pack with Button just 0.030s back. Alonso is third ahead of Hamilton fourth, Massa fifth and Schumacher sixth.
Webber is seventh in the standings after the first run and he is only 0.368s down on his team-mate. Rosberg is eighth, with Senna ninth.
A longer than usual run at this juncture for Vettel. He is now working lap 11.
The championship leader is the only driver left on the circuit and surely he will be in this time round.
Indeed, Vettel does pit and is wheeled into the Red Bull garage.
Kovalainen returns to the Caterham pit and tells the team that his car is very nervous at the rear.
No move yet from either HRT driver, as the team continues with its limited programme due to parts.
Only Grosjean and Petrov are on track at the moment as teams digest the data collected on the first run.
In fact, it looks like it may be some time before we see Karthikeyan. He's still in his civvies, while the rest of the teams continue about their business.
Rosberg is eighth in the classification. He rejoins the circuit to begin his second run of the afternoon.
Massa is back on track again for a second run with the hard tyres.
Mark Webber leaves the Red Bull garage and heads out to begin his second run. Senna, di Resta and Hulkenberg are also on track.
Raikkonen has braked a little late for the first corner, exiting over the revised run-off at the Senna S.
Vergne and Maldonado are another two out there gathering data.
Vettel remains in the car while routine work is carried out around his car. Vergne is out there and one of the first to try out the medium tyre.
Unlike in Austin, the track surface and nature is working the rubber hard here, with the rear tyres taking some punishment on this hot day.
Schumacher is back out to begin his second run and there are 17 drivers on track.
Webber is looking good here to move up the order from seventh. He crosses the line and is into fourth with 1m15.336s.
So now we have Vettel on top with Button second, Alonso third and Webber 0.110s back in fourth spot. Hamilton is fifth with Massa sixth.
Glock and Pic are making an early move to evaluate the medium compound.
Vergne did appear to go out with a set of medium tyres bolted on, but he has seemingly aborted the run early and is back into the pits.
Vettel heads out to start his second run of laps in the Red Bull.
Webber made that improvement to fourth and came quickly back into the pits after a four lap run.
Hamilton returns to the McLaren pit and is trollied into the garage.
Rosberg delivers an improvement and moves up to fifth with 1m15.377s. He is one-tenth clear of Mercedes team-mate Schumacher.
Alonso tops the middle sector but doesn't improve overall, remaining third fastest.
Vettel just completed a slow lap to build tyre temperature but the German is now on a faster attempt.
Vettel backs off in the middle sector and comes through with no improvement.
And now he has handed track position over at the Senna S. The German is having little joy with traffic so far this afternoon.
Alonso, sporting a sizable rear wing on his Ferrari at the moment, improves his best to a 1m15.150s.
The Ferrari is looking slower through the final sector up the hill but Alonso may be favouring more downforce to prepare for rain.
Webber is back out to begin his third run of laps. Vettel is on a better lap this time round but Alonso is now ahead of him.
Grosjean is now trying medium rubber on his Lotus and finding a touch of understeer. Nevertheless, he vaults up to second fastest.
Schumacher returns to the pitlane at the end of an eight lap run. He has slipped to ninth in the classification.
Movement at HRT and both drivers are on the circuit. Karthikeyan is into his first timed lap.
Button tries a line deep over the kerb at Bico de Pato, which upsets the balance of his McLaren.
Karthikeyan climbs the hill and posts 1m18.315s.
De la Rosa is now on his first timed lap, while Karthikeyan presses on for a second attempt.
Grosjean continues his progress on the medium compound, topping the times in 1m14.994s.
Kobayashi, Raikkonen and Petrov are also making the move to the softer compound.
Alonso drops to second spot with Vettel third, Button fourth, Webber fifth and Rosberg now in sixth position.
Raikkonen moves up to sixth fastest with his opening effort on the option rubber.
Alonso fighting his Ferrari through the twisting infield section as he continues on a degrading set of hard tyres.
De la Rosa comes through at the completion of another lap and moves into 22nd place - ahead of Charles Pic - with 1m17.697s.
Kobayashi goes 11th fastest as he tries the medium compound on his Sauber.
Vettel ends a quiet run away from the cameras after 10 laps and comes back into the pitlane. He is now third in the classification.
Medium rubber for Perez as well, going 11th himself after a messy run through the middle part of the lap.
Ricciardo is down the order somewhat in 18th position, but he is out there on a medium tyre run.
Ricciardo picks up three-tenths of a second on the quicker tyre on that lap, posting 1m15.902s to go 15th fastest.
Rosberg is also out there on his medium tyre run and looking extremely quick, as he looks to move up from seventh.
Rosberg finds almost one second and moves up to head the list with a time of 1m14.822s.
But not for long, as Massa takes over with a quick lap of 1m14.553s.
Hamilton is next to try out the faster tyre and he duly moves to the front with a lap of 1m14.026, as the medium tyre runs dominate now.
So Hamilton heads the list with Massa now second, Rosberg third, Grosjean has just left the pits in fourth and di Resta goes fifth.
Suddenly Alonso is down to sixth with Vettel seventh, but neither has posted a lap on the softer tyre as yet.
Hamilton is fastest again in the first sector, as Button comes through in 1m14.863s and moves into fourth place.
Hamilton exits Juncao and then comes into the pits, as Webber improves to second spot with a time of 1m14.523s.
Massa is next man over the line but he is unable to improve this time round. He remains third.
Alonso is now into his medium tyre run and we wait to see what the Spaniard can do. No move from Vettel just yet.
Senna moves up to 13th spot in the Williams with a lap of 1m15.432s.
Alonso finishes his first timed lap on the softer tyre and moves back up to fourth with a time of 1m14.607s.
Schumacher has also jumped up the list on his medium tyre run. He is fifth with 1m14.654s.
Hamilton leads the pack with a time of 1m14.026s, with Webber second, Massa third, Alonso fourth, Schumacher fifth and Rosberg in sixth spot.
Button has dropped back down the list to seventh, ahead of Grosjean eighth, di Resta ninth and Hulkenberg rounding out the top 10.
Vettel is back on the circuit and now let's see what the championship leader can do on his option tyre run. He has slipped to 11th.
Vettel crosses the line and begins a timed lap.
Oh and look at this - fastest of all in the first sector.
This is important to give everyone a baseline of relevant performance levels this weekend. Vettel posts a personal best in the middle sector.
Vettel comes round and completes the lap... And goes second with a time of 1m14.300s.
The gap at the front is 0.274s between current pacesetter Hamilton and Vettel.
Alonso completes another attempt and finds a little more with 1m14.592s. He is fifth in the classification.
Vettel has backed off for a lap to cool the tyres. He goes again, but has more problems with traffic. This time it's Kobayashi.
Kobayashi was having problems of his own to be fair, having messed up the exit of the Senna S. He ran wide onto the grass but continued.
Vettel stays out and goes again, but it is questionable whether he has now used the best of the option compound tyre.
No, it's not worth completing the attempt and Vettel heads in for checks and to give the team his feedback.
While Vettel and Alonso were entertaining us, the rest were in to fill up with fuel, in preparation for the standard long run.
Rosberg and Hamilton are topped up and back out on the track to simulate race conditions on Sunday.
Massa heads out in the Ferrari. Grosjean, di Resta, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen are also out there.
Given the short lap time here, we can expect to see times around five seconds off with a full tank, rather than seven seconds at most tracks.
Hamilton is told the team is targeting a 1m19.5s lap on his current, heavy, fuel load.
Pic is touring slowly in his Marussia and has stopped on the grass at Bico de Pato.
Webber heads out to begin his high fuel run and we have started tracking the Red Bull and Mercedes pair to see how far they go on this stint in the final stages of the session.
This looks like session over for Pic and the newly-announced Caterham driver is stepping out of his Marussia.
Yellow flags are out for the stranded Marussia, denting times in the middle sector of the lap.
Interestingly, that was a short run for Rosberg, rather than the beginning of his race-related work. Both he and team-mate Schumacher remain in the pits.
Medium tyres are a popular choice for this traditional race pace evaluation.
Vettel is also still in the garage, as the Red Bull team prepares him for the long run, but this incident with Pic may delay them just a little.
Marshals are struggling to remove Pic's car, which is still stuck in gear.
Schumacher heads out to begin his long run.
Raikkonen says he has "absolutely no grip" at the front or rear of his Lotus, with the team confirming that his tyres are very warm.
Red Bull decides not to wait and sends Vettel out to gather race data while the Pic incident is still being cleared.
Rosberg has also joined the racetrack., leaving only three drivers in the pits, and yes, two of those are the HRT duo.
Marussia says the dreaded alternator could have stopped Pic, with that car still being pulled from the circuit.
Schumacher comes through in a time of 1m19.809s, which is just a couple of tenths off what the leading teams are doing.
Vettel crosses the start-finish line and posts 1m19.702s this time round.
The track is finally clear of Pic's car, allowing drivers to push on with the race evaluation.
Vettel completes another lap and produces a time of 1m20.003s.
Hamilton continues to lap in the 1m19.5s bracket as predicted by McLaren.
Alonso kicks off a hard tyre run with a 1m19.9s lap.
Alonso is told he has another 10 laps on this run to the flag.
De la Rosa is sent out by HRT to try and gather some data for the race, but he won't have many laps available to him with just over nine minutes remaining.
Massa continues his long run on the medium compound, with the Ferrari team splitting its rubber evaluation.
Vettel rounds Juncao and blasts up the hill to complete another lap. He posts 1m20.672s.
Hamilton has improved into the low 1m19s bracket but the current lap is not so good after clearing traffic in the form of Maldonado.
Rosberg is told over the Mercedes team radio that his engine temperature is rising a little too much.
Strong pace from Hamilton here with another 1m19.3s lap. Button is setting a similar pace in his McLaren.
Maldonado comes in and switches over to the hard compound, before heading back out to work through a tyre comparison.
Vettel is 10 laps into his race data run, while team-mate Webber is working through lap 14.
Late 1m19s pace from the Ferrari pair on their latest laps.
Maldonado comes through in 1m20.0s which isn't far off. It all depends on the individual fuel load in each car of course.
Alonso clocks a 1m19.5s lap as he continues on the harder rubber.
Hamilton has pitted his McLaren and returns to the track for a late look at the hard tyres.
The flag is out to wrap up Friday practice for 2012.
Replays of Vettel locking up his right front heavily as he came through towards the end of his stint on the medium tyre.
So practice ends with Lewis Hamilton on top with a time of 1m14.026s, ahead of Vettel, Webber and Massa.
The gaps increased with the top four covered by 0.527s. Alonso is fifth on the timesheet, ahead of Schumacher sixth and Rosberg seventh.
Button ends the day in eighth spot, with Grosjean ninth and di Resta rounds out the top 10 on a warm afternoon at Interlagos.
Other notables: Raikkonen finished down the list in 12th spot, but a slow start to the weekend isn't a great surprise.
It's McLaren and Red Bull looking strong after practice with the Ferrari pair chasing hard. Join us tomorrow for final practice and qualifying, as the story of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix continues.
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Friday practice one
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