Sebastian Vettel leads, followed closely by team mate Mark Webber, and then… the rest brawl over the scraps.
It was actually Jenson who got closest to Vettel in the first practice, at only, 0.310 seconds back. But by the end of the fast laps in the second session, Webber was 0.118 back in second, and the next fastest driver was Alonso, at a whopping 0.599 off Vettel’s pace!
Good news, some anyhow, for those duking it out behind the Bulls, race pace is similar for all of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and even Mercedes. Also, Alonso hung on to end up with the fastest time on the hard tire compound, though probably because of late runs, during which the track adhesion had increased.
The track evolved continuously over the session, with drivers reporting increasing adhesion as the practice sessions went on. There is no reason to believe that this will not continue, right up until the final qualifying run; therefore the later the run, the better the comparative timing, favouring the brave.
It’s looking good if you are a blockheaded munchkin in a race car sponsored by a metabolism-increasing fizzy drink company, and designed by the greatest design guru who ever worked in the business.
Vettel is far and away the favourite here. That being said, he has not won four races in a row (one web site states), and all the conditions are evolving, yet, and in this sport, in the words of a famous play-by-play man, “anything can happen, and usually does.“