Practice Two - McLaren's turn for a Melbourne one-two 25 Mar 2011
McLaren ended the second session of practice first and second in Albert Park on Friday evening, with Jenson Button pipping team mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.132s as only 0.429s covered the top five.
The session began under the threat of rain, which fortunately held off to enable all of the runners bar HRT, whose cars were still not ready, to run on both the hard and the soft Pirellis. There were plenty of off-track incidents, centring around Timo Glock, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello, but nobody did any damage as they explored the limits.
Later, just as everyone was preparing for their last banzai runs, rain on the back of the circuit sealed McLarens surprise supremacy.
Button lapped in 1m 25.854s, Hamilton in 1m 25.986s, the only runners under 1m 26s. But Fernando Alonso got mighty close with 1m 26.001s for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel was right on his tail for Red Bull with 1m 26.014s. Mark Webber was with his team mate, on 1m 26.283s.
The final runners under 1m 27s were Mercedes Michael Schumacher on 1m 26.590s and Ferraris Felipe Massa on 1m 26.789s.
Impressive rookie Sergio Perez was eighth for Sauber on 1m 27.101s, from Rubens Barrichellos Williams on 1m 27.280s, Nico Rosbergs Mercedes on 1m 27.448s and Jaime Alguersuaris Toro Rosso on 1m 27.525s. Vitaly Petrov was very close to them with 1m 27.528s, and Nick Heidfeld chased his Renault team mate with 1m 27.697s, closely followed by the second Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi on 1m 27.697s.
Kamui Kobayashis Sauber was next up on 1m 28.095s, ahead of rookie Paul di Resta who made a very assured debut despite missing the first session, to beat Force India team mate Adrian Sutil with 1m 28.376s to 1m 28.583s.
Pastor Maldonado was 18th for Williams on 1m 29.386s, then came the Lotus duo of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli on 1m 30.829s and 1m 30.912s respectively. Timo Glock led Virgin team mate Jerome DAmbrosio this time, 1m 32.106s to 1m 32.135s. Tonio Liuzzi didnt get a time, but there was applause as the Italian went out right at the end to do a single lap as HRT finally got one car ready. Narain Karthikeyan watched from the garage.
As a data-gathering exercise, the final half hour of the session was run with the new adjustable rear wings in 'race mode', meaning the system was only available to drivers if they were within one second of the car ahead entering the start-finish straight.
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