Melbourne: Force India`s rookie driver Nico Hulkenberg set the second fastest time in the rain-affected second free practice session for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday.
The young German driver was 12th in the FP1 with a timing of 1:29.865 but improved his timing in the FP2 to 1:29.292 in 19 laps to be the second fastest driver of the day.
Hulkenberg seemed to be fastest until the last minute when Mercedes` Michael Schumcher dislodged with a timing of 1m 29.183s under tough weather conditions.
Red Bull`s defending champion Sebastian Vettel was 10th followed by his teammate Mark Webber.
The other Force India driver Paul Di Resta also did well as he was sixth (1:31.466) in the FP2 though he was faster in FP1 (1:29.881) but managed 13th position.
"Both FP1 and FP2 had mixed conditions, especially FP2 with the heavy rain, which arrived just before the start of the session. But we made the best of it and I ran on the full wets, the intermediates and the soft tyres when the track had dried out," he said.
Hulkenberg though said today`s timings should not be considered seriously for obvious reasons.
"It`s difficult to read much from the times because not everyone ran the soft tyres and there were lots of different fuel loads, but the main thing for me is that I have a good feeling with the car already," Hulkenberg said. Paul di Resta was happy with the car`s performance but said a lucid calculations of teams` performance was not easy to make.
"Difficult to say too much about the first or second session because the conditions were so inconsistent with the rain showers. Even so, we made the best of it and focussed on assessing the aero package we have here and managed to learn a few things.
"We also made some set-up changes between the two sessions and the car felt better in the evening, so that was positive. The difficult thing is that we didn’t really get an impression of where everybody is in terms of performance, so there are still lots of unknowns going into tomorrow," he said.
Chief Engineer Jakob Andreasen said,"Overall I think we were on track at the right times and on the right tyres, and it`s always worth going out even if there`s just a small thing you can learn. When we were on track we did some work evaluating our aero package and got some useful data. The most important thing is that we made the most of the dry periods to get the drivers into the rhythm of the track."