Vettel back on top in Texas

Vettel back on top in Texas
Sebastian Vettel in action

Normal order was unsurprisingly restored for second practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix following a bizarre initial session.

Fog and an antenna fault with the medical helicopter caused lengthy delays during the morning run which was topped by Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari, but with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel down in 18th.

Newly-crowned four-times champion Vettel, however, was back on top of the pile at the end of afternoon outing, spearheading a one-two with team-mate Mark Webber.

In Vettel’s sights on Sunday is the prospect of setting a new record for consecutive number of wins in one season, with the 26-year-old on a run of seven in a row.

The German, second around Austin’s Circuit of the Americas last year, is not too concerned about making it eight as he said: “I’m not really here to break a record.

“It’s a nice grand prix, a very nice weekend, and I wouldn’t mind if it turns out that I do break it, but it’s not why I’ll be getting in the car.”

On the faster medium compound Pirelli tyre in FP2, as opposed to the slightly slower hard tyre used in FP1, Vettel posted a time of one minute 37.305secs, with Webber 0.115secs adrift.

The duo were followed by Mercedes pairing Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with both around half a second back.

Fifth quickest, and on his debut for Lotus after being handed a two-race deal as stand-in for Kimi Raikkonen who underwent successful back surgery on Thursday, was fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

Axed by Caterham at the end of last season, and after only taking part in six free practice sessions this year after being rehired as a reserve, Kovalainen was an impressive 0.768secs off the pace.

Team-mate Romain Grosjean, on the podium at three of the last four races, was three places and two tenths of a second further back in eighth.

Sandwiched in between them were Sauber duo Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg, both just under a second down and suggesting they could be top-10 contenders this weekend.

Jenson Button was ninth fastest in his McLaren, however, the Briton goes into the weekend with a three-place grid penalty against him for overtaking another car during a red-flag period in FP1.

That session began with a 40-minute delay as fog surrounding the track, just 10 miles out of Austin which was bathed in sunshine, which meant the medical helicopter was unable to land to take its position.

Just 14 minutes of track action followed before the session was stopped as the pilot was unable to make contact with air traffic control due to a broken antenna.

There followed another 34-minute delay whilst another helicopter was located before the session again restarted, culminating with Alonso on top.

After being given the all-clear to race despite an issue with his back sustained during the last grand prix in Abu Dhabi, Alonso was only 10th quickest at the end of FP2, finishing 1.156secs down.

Paul Di Resta was 15th for Force India, whilst Marussia’s Max Chilton was 21st and nearly nine seconds back, the Briton also suffering a spin late on.

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