Button Tops Second Practice in Australia
After the Red Bull duo has dominated the action in the first practice, it was McLaren's turn to emerge on top, in a session during which the last half hour was ran in race trim in order to test the behavior of the adjustable rear wing.
After more than 45 minutes on the track, almost all drivers took turns in lapping the Melbourne circuit fitted with the soft option tires, and the McLaren MP4-25 proved to have the best pace. Under the circumstances, it was Hamilton who set the fastest time initially, only seconds before his teammate improved to 1:25.854, some 0.132 seconds faster.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was 3rd quickest, 0.147 seconds off the pace of Button, while followed by Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. While still very much “at war” with the adjustable rear wing, both drivers were asked by their team to use the device as little as possible in practice.
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher dominated the timing reports before drivers switched to softer tires (which is a good sign, considering that most of the race will be ran on hard tires), but in the end had to settle for 6th overall, ahead of the second Ferrari driven by Felipe Massa.
Eighth place belonged surprisingly enough to Sauber's rookie driver Sergio Perez, who managed to end the day ahead of Williams' Rubens Barrichello and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.
Even though pre-season testing showed the new teams of F1 have improved as compared to last season, both Team Lotus drivers were more than 5 seconds of the leading pace, while Virgin Racing's Timo Glock and Jerome D'Ambrosio were at least 7 seconds slower than the leading pack. Finally, Hispania only did a few installation laps with Vitantonio Liuzzi.
The second practice ended prematurely with 10 minutes left, as rain started to pour down the Melbourne track.