Vettel strikes early blow with F1 top practice run

Montreal: Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time in Friday’s second practice for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix as the young German started repairing the damage caused by his controversial drive last time out.

Perhaps with a point to prove after crashing while challenging teammate Mark Webber in Istanbul two weeks ago, the Red Bull driver managed to clock a time of one minute 16.877 to edge out Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Vettel, fifth fastest in the morning, went quickest during his first few laps on the soft tyre, while other drivers appeared to struggle with extreme tyre wear.

Double-champion Alonso was second fastest ahead of Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.

“It’s looking okay for us, we’re quite competitive,” said Vettel.

“The secret here is the tyres; everyone was sliding around a bit, we only made some small adjustments between the two sessions.”

Drivers’ championship leader Webber, who struggled in the morning session, finished fourth fastest in the second Red Bull.

“We thought McLaren might do more today, but it is early in the weekend,” said the Australian.

“We are pretty happy with how the day went. I think we were pleasantly surprised with the pace, which is a good thing for us.

Webber added that he would not be getting complacent and expects a much closer contest in Saturday?s qualifying.

“We’re going to have a tight fight with everyone, but the car ran really well today and we will see how the weekend goes.”

Brazilian Felipe Massa set the fifth fastest time in the second Ferrari, followed by a strong performance from Force India driver Adrian Sutil in sixth.

Lewis Hamilton, one of many drivers to suffer from tyre wear, was seventh quickest for McLaren while Renault driver Robert Kubica, winner in 2008, was eighth fastest.

Seven-time drivers’ champion Michael Schumacher was ninth fastest in the second Mercedes while Vitantonio Liuzzi made it two in the top ten for Force India.

Defending world champion Jenson Button, fastest in the morning session, also struggled with tyre wear and finished 11th fastest.

“This afternoon I struggled with the balance a little bit, instability under braking,” said Button.

“I actually lost grip this afternoon, so I’m guessing most people did go the other away. It’s strange how I lost grip in the afternoon when there’s a lot more rubber down, but we’ll get to the bottom of that for sure.”

Team-mate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton, champion in 2008 also had issues with the dirty track conditions and tyre graining and fell from third, to seventh place.

“I’m not happy with how this afternoon went,” he said. “I think today in general the track has just been incredibly difficult to drive.”

Bureau Report

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