Red Bull Renault is well aware that they need to throw caution to the wind and go for wins if they are to challenge Brawn Mercedes and go for championship glory. The second practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend saw Sebastian Vettel set the pace with a best lap of 1:48.650s
in his Red Bull, while team-mate Mark Webber pushed too hard and crashed his RB5 and was forced to miss most of the session.
There was no sign of Vettel and Red Bull conserving the dwindling supply of Renault engines as the German driver completed a full programme, lapping the 5.067km circuit nearly three-tenths clear of the field. Webber set the initial pace and enjoyed a cushion three-tenths ahead Vettel but lost control of his RB5 and crashed with just over a third of the session complete. Fernando Alonso
vaulted second fastest right at the end of the 90 minute session in the leading Renault. With sponsorship branding removed ahead of the practice today, the team are looking to put the events of the recent weeks and firmly behind them and today Alonso was right on the limit of the oversteering R29.
Heikki Kovalainen was also pushing very hard for McLaren as he recorded the third fastest time of the day while team-mate Lewis Hamilton proved especially rapid in the first sector of the lap, but could not maintain the pace over the lap as a whole and ended the day ninth.
BMW Sauber has many updates and additions to the F1.09 package in Singapore, with Nick Heidfeld
in particular showing well on the way to the fourth fastest time ahead of championship leader Jenson Button
in the leading Brawn Mercedes and Webber.
Nico Rosberg struggled at the Italian Grand Prix but he and the Williams team hope that the demands of a street circuit will be better suited to the characteristics of the FW31. He set the seventh fastest time ahead of Timo Glock in the leading Toyota, Hamilton and Robert Kubica in the second BMW Sauber.
After setting the pace in the first session, Rubens Barrichello
was just 11th in the evening for Brawn and very nearly ended his session prematurely after he took too much kerbing in turns one and two - before understeering lightly into the outside retaining wall at turn three.
Force India Mercedes impressed greatly at both Spa Francorchamps and Monza, but at this high downforce circuit, Adrian Sutil was just 12th ahead of Jarno Trulli
in the second Toyota while Tonio Liuzzi was 18th ahead of Romain Grosjean and Jaime Alguersuari.
It was not a good day for the Ferrari team with Kimi Raikkonen
14th and Giancarlo Fisichella
16th, while Grosjean sat out the first half of the session as Renault finished off the repairs required following his crash earlier in the day. The French rookie then suffered a brake issue on the R29 which limited his running to just 17 laps and he ended the 19th of the 20 runners.
After three hours of Friday running Red Bull, Brawn Mercedes and McLaren Mercedes all look strong ahead of the all important Saturday morning practice session.