Sebastian Vettel returned to the top of the time sheets in the second practice session ahead of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
Vettel’s lap of 1:37.305, set on the medium tyres, put him fastest jut after the half-way point of the session, a time that would remain unbeaten for the remaining 38 minutes.
Mark Webber was a tenth shy of the German in second in the sister Red Bull, but on the harder of the Pirelli tyres.
The two Mercedes drivers emerged as Red Bull’s biggest challengers, finishing the session in third and fourth respectively, Nico Rosberg once again quicker than his team-mate, last year’s winner here, Lewis Hamilton.
Heikki Kovalainen reinforced Lotus’ decision to choose him over Davide Valsecchi with a fastest laptime of 1:38.073, which left him in fifth overall, while Romain Grosjean could only manage eight fastest, just under two tenths down on the Finn’s best time which was set on the medium compound Pirelli’s.
Fernando Alonso, who topped the morning session on Friday found himself only 10th fastest in the afternoon, behind both of the Sauber’s of Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg, who finished sixth and seventh, as well as Jenson Button who was ninth for McLaren.
Max Chilton’s session was ended early after a break failure threw his Marussia off the circuit at the final corner, but fortunately for the 22-year-old he managed to keep the car out of the wall.
There was more drama to come though as the session came to a close, as the tractor sent to retrieve the abandoned Marussia became stuck in the gravel itself, only after a wait of almost eight minutes was the tractor freed, along with Chilton’s car.
It brought to an end a dreadful practice for the Marussia team, with Chilton and Bianchi over 5 seconds down on the Caterham’s.
Image courtesy of Pirelli Media