Turkish GP - Second practice
There was a new name at the top of the timesheets this afternoon at Istanbul Park as Heikki Kovalainen recorded the fastest lap around the 5.338km circuit with a best time of 1:28.841s, six thousandths of a second clear of Fernando Alonso
just 1.8 seconds covering all 20 runners, the results from the second 90 minute practice session remained pretty stagnant following the first runs of the afternoon. Usually the times come down in the second half of the session as the teams move from the harder prime tyre to evaluation of the softer option tyre. Unusually at this circuit, the harder tyre was significantly quicker and therefore there were no improvements of consequence late in the session.
Kovalainen recorded his best lap a third of the way into the session by two-tenths of a second from Alonso. The Renault driver pushed hard as the chequered flag flew and did manage to improve his time, but not by enough to take the overnight fastest time.
With a new double diffuser fitted to the BMW Sauber, Robert Kubica found himself third fastest this afternoon as the team look to get to grips with the new aerodynamic package. Given Kubica’s struggles this year, he will be hoping that the position is a true reflection of the car’s potential and not a ‘showboating’ low fuel run.
Despite a couple of spins, Kazuki Nakajima led the Williams Toyota charge as he posted the fourth fastest time. Late in the session the Japanese racer found himself in a needless battle for track position with Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella
. As the duo battled through turns 12 and 13 it was fairly inevitable that slight contact would send both for a quick harmless spin.
Sebastian Vettel was forced to sit out the opening minutes of the session as the Red Bull Renault crew worked on his car. Some 24 minutes into the session he joined the rest on circuit, quickly posted what was then the third fastest time and then clipped the kerbing at the first turn. The RB5 instantly lost power due to an engine problem and Vettel was again on the sidelines for the remaining hour.
Showing how little the times came down following the first laps of the session, Vettel’s third fastest time an hour ahead of the chequered flag was still good for fifth overall with team-mate Mark Webber down in ninth. Jarno Trulli
was again the quicker of the two Toyota drivers with the sixth fastest time ahead of the morning pace-setter Nico Rosberg in the second Williams. Rubens Barrichello
led the Brawn Mercedes team with the eighth fastest time, but will not be concerned with the Friday pace.
Nelson Piquet was a solid tenth best in the second Renault while Ferrari did not show particularly well this afternoon with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen
11th and 15th respectively. Raikkonen, who won this race back on 2005 with McLaren, complained of a general lack of front end grip on his F60 challenger early on and then was unable to make gain on the slower option tyre.
Championship leader Jenson Button
was 12th in the second Brawn Mercedes and like team-mate Barrichello will not be too concerned with his Friday pace. Lewis Hamilton was 13th in the similarly-powered McLaren following a couple of kerb induced spins ahead of Timo Glock in the second Toyota, Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld
in his BMW Sauber.
Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella
were 17th and 18th for the Mercedes-powered Force India Team. The VJM02 features an additional small wing mounted ahead of the main rear wing this weekend and the duo managed to stay clear of the Toro Rosso Ferrari duo who are struggling again with Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi bringing up the rear of the field.