Webber fastest for Red Bull on day one in Korea
Championship leader Mark Webber goes into the second day of this weekend's Korean Grand Prix as the fastest man after posting the quickest time of the day in this afternoon's second practice session. The Australian posted a time of 1m37.942s in his RB6 to go almost three seconds quicker than the fastest morning time, and setting the scene for an intense fight between the title contenders tomorrow.
This morning's session saw drivers get to grips with the new track, as they all coped with the extremely low grip levels on the fresh tarmac, but the times were quickly dropping as rubber was laid on the surface. There were plenty of off-track excursions too, but with a fastest time of 1m40.887s against a target of 1m38.7s, significant improvements in laptimes were going to come in the afternoon.
And sure enough they did, with Webber's time already dipping eight tenths under the projected laptime. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso set a time of 1m38.132s, putting him right in the middle of the fight for top honours, while Lewis Hamilton came third in his McLaren, three tenths off the pace on a 1m38.279s.
A huge top speed advantage on the 1.2km-long straight helped Renault's Robert Kubica to fourth place on a 1m38.718s, having gone three tenths quicker than anyone else in the first sector, dominated by three long straights. Reigning champion Jenson Button was in close attention in fifth (1m38.726s), while Ferrari's Felipe Massa (1m38.820s) wasn't too far behind either.
Sebastian Vettel slipped to seventh place in his Red Bull after posting a time of 1m39.204s earlier than most on the soft Bridgestone tyre. Renault's Vitaly Petrov (1m39.267s), Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (1m39.268s) and BMW Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi (1m39.564s) rounded out the top ten, closely followed by team-mate Nick Heidfeld (1m39.588s) and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher (1m39.598s).
Both Williams cars slipped from the top ten this morning to 13th and 16th places, while Force India struggled also, compounded by Vitantonio Liuzzi stopping on-track with two minutes to go. Toro Rosso continued as the slowest established team, over 2.5 seconds off the pace.
Of the new teams, Lotus regained the upper hand after falling behind Virgin this morning, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli both going quicker than their new team rivals. Timo Glock was three tenths quicker than team-mate Lucas Di Grassi at Virgin, the Brazilian having only got his first taste of the track this afternoon having been replaced by Jerome D'Ambrosio this morning.
Meanwhile, Hispania had a hugely disrupted session as Sakon Yamamoto and Bruno Senna both had their running time curtailed. Bruno Senna, who spun to a stop mid-way through first practice thanks to a suspension failure, managed just three laps this afternoon due to lengthy repairs. Sakon Yamamoto lost valuable track time after spinning at turn 17 after half an hour, before stalling the engine and bringing out a brief five-minute red flag. He rejoined the action half an hour later.