Pastor Maldonado headed the first practice session showing his good run of form in Spain. But it was Vettel delivering the quickest time of the day in the afternoon – his best result in any of the previous Friday runs this year. The wind accompanied by cooler track temperature spoiled teams’ expectations and tyre locking ups were witnessed throughout the track.
Redbull tried out upgraded RB8 as a constant improvisation process from Bahrain. As the conditions were cooler than we might expect on Sunday, Vettel was happy with the clean practice day and was yet to get his right set-up for Sunday. He did long runs on both sets of tyres and managed to get P2 and P1 in the respective sessions.
Mark Webber was quite satisfied with his hard rubber set-up but believes overnight work to be done to get the balance right for a rather hot and less windy race Sunday. He ended FP1 behind his team-mate and P9 in afternoon after laying more rubber on soft tyres with getting better on his lap times.
Ferrari drivers have worked through intense testing programme as Felipe never had set competitive lap times. Aero comparisons and component upgrades featured on F2012 of Felipe – not just for Valencia but for Silverstone and believably for rest of the season. He locked up in his timed lap on options which let him face bottom half of standings on P14 and P15 respectively.
Fernando, meanwhile, has Lewis on his cards and emphasising more on tyres and set-up than getting a good timed lap on qualifying. He sat at the end of the day on P5 and P7 respectively in the stipulated sessions.\
Jenson Button had problems with front locking, he was confident of doing reasonably well with some minor tweaks to the changes brought to his car. He had a good time in FP1, consummating at P4 but his woes with finding right balance on option tyres continued as he finished only P12 in the other session.
The wind caused more problems for Lewis Hamilton as he couldn’t get his balance right all day. He could only do a P8 and P14 in the respective sessions.
Michael Schumacher had clutch issues in FP2 but he was able to recover to make longer runs and wary of rear tyre degradation. He languished on P7 and P4 in the day’ sessions.
Rosberg couldn’t get a clear run in options when the session was at its closure but he improved on his prime tyre run from practice one. He had persistence lock-ups into turn 12 and sorting that out is a key for tomorrow’s qualifying.He was P9 and P10 in the respective timing screens.
Mercedes had run with prime rubbers in FP1 to get vital race parameters but used both set of rubbers to analyse longer runs in afternoon.
Jules Bianchi on his regular first practice run evaluated some aero updates to his front wing and felt comfortable with medium rubber. Straight on in FP1, Di Resta picked up good pace and with the level of performance they had shown, he aims top ten in qualifying after his fine run of P6s on Friday with solid middle sector times.
Nico Hulkenberg could make another upset as he trailed only his fellow German Vettel in his only session of the day. Though no body knew how much fuel load each car carried, the result would up his level of confidence and the team was relatively cheerful with correlations between data gathered from simulation works and time spent on track.
Lotus drivers were bidding on their long run race pace which was usually good for them. Particularly, Kimi couldn’t do his long runs as he was caught in traffic in the second session but there were no issues mechanically and the tyres were quite good in adopting to the conditions.
More work to be done to extract qualifying pace as the team was left disappointed with cooler conditions and gusty wind. Kimi Raikkonen completed the sessions in P10 and P11 respectively and Grosjean convinced long run pace was there in his car to finish in P11 and P8. New floor and front wing were evaluated along with aero comparisons during the course of the session.
Williams had a good time in terms of running updates with Bottas. Maldonado, despite finishing P1, had a hard time in afternoon with only restricted long stints. Bruno Senna’s P5 in his only session of afternoon would do his confidence whole lot of good. Drivers worked on both low and high fuel balances on the medium and soft tyres.
Kobayashi and Perez concentrated on aero updates with former was happy with how things went and found a good balance unlike the latter. But Kobayashi had hydraulic issues in afternoon to curtail his long run prospects.
Kamui went as high as third in the afternoon session and finished P12 in FP1. Sergio struggled a lot on a track which less suit the Sauber to conclude in P13 and P16 in the respective sessions.
Toro rosso, Caterham, Marussia and HRT:
Caterham’ John lley made his first appearance to the team and immediately their bid to mix-up with midfielders went on as they tried raft of updates to the sleeky CT01.
Heikki got the better of both Toro Rossos in FP1 and Petrov did the same in FP2 . Petrov worked on different KERS maps and fell victim to the mechanical issue towards end of session two. Kovaleinen tested new front wing and optimistic of their full potential in Silverstone.
Vergne had run with exhaust layout used by Ricciardo in Montreal and Ricciardo was happy with high fuel on board runs.
Timo Glock aborted his FP1 run late in the session due to a stomach bug which meant Charles Pic had to do race preparations, albeit Timo recovered for FP2 . They comfortably out paced the home team of HRT.
Pedro de la Rosa damaged his front suspension when he went off the track and Narain had struggled to get heat into his soft Pirelli tyres.