Tag Archives: Mercedes

Aborted start was due to Schumacher stopping out of position

The FIA has clarified as to why the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix was aborted.

Viewers only saw flashing orange lights at the start/finish line, then Michael Schumacher being pushed back into the pit lane, and then a team radio snippet of him stating that he turned the engine off.

It has emerged that Schumacher only turned off his engine due to the flashing orange lights, which were used because the Mercedes driver himself had not parked within his designated spot on the grid.

Schumacher eventually started the race from the pit lane, before a drive-through penalty, a loss of tyre telemetry, and a puncture forced him to retire.


Schumacher fastest, Webber to start from pole in Monaco

Mark Webber will start from pole position for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix.

However, he didn’t set the fastest time. For the second time in two races, the fastest driver has incurred a grid penalty, but it wasn’t Pastor Maldonado as many had expected. Amazingly, it was Michael Schumacher who took provisional pole from the Red Bull.

After his collision with Bruno Senna in Spain, Michael will start 6th in Monaco. The Red Bulls were 1st and 10th, in contrasting fortunes, while Sergio Perez had another shunt with the barriers. This is what happened:


Sergio Perez limps back to the pits

Sergio Perez limps back to the pits

Charles Pic was the first to exit the pits, but was blocked by Pedro de la Rosa on his first attempt.

Fernando Alonso was the first to set a fast lap, setting a 1:17.128. However, the red flag was quickly out, as Sergio Perez hit the barrier for the second year in a row. He understeered horribly out of the Swimming Pool, and made heavy contact with the barriers.

The green flag saw a flurry of activity, as drivers scrambled to set a fast lap. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton swiftly went 1st and 2nd, with Nico Rosberg going 4th. On his next lap, the Mercedes driver improved his lap by more than half a second.

The Lotuses were very late setting their times. Romain Grosjean leaped up to 2nd with 3 minutes to go, while Kimi Raikkonen was held up by Vitaly Petrov, and pitted for super-softs with just a few minutes to go. Vettel and Kobayashi followed the Finn’s tactics.

Kamui Kobayashi went up to 2nd, with Vettel and Raikkonen 4th and 5th. Nico Hulkenberg took top spot, after setting his best lap with over 5 minutes to go.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:16.538

19) Vitaly Petrov – 1:17.404

20) Timo Glock – 1:17.947

21) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:18.096

22) Charles Pic – 1:18.476

23) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:19.310

24) Sergio Perez – N/A


Button caused a shock by exiting in Q2

Button caused a shock by exiting in Q2

Super-softs were the way to go in Q2 as the session got underway.

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher quickly went 1st and 2nd, before they were split by Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the next driver to make contact with the barriers, breaking off his front wing and damaging his suspension. It did little to disrupt the session, apart from holding up Felipe Massa.

Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean moved into the top 10, displacing Vettel and Kobayashi. Felipe Massa took the top spot, while Vettel went back into 8th.

It soon turned into a mad charge to survive Q2. Bruno Senna was first up, failing to move further than 14th. Kimi Raikkonen slipped into 10th, while Jenson Button was only 13th. Nico Hulkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi were briefly in the top 10, but were pushed out in the final few laps.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:15.421

12) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:15.508

13) Jenson Button – 1:15.536

14) Bruno Senna – 1:15.709

15) Paul di Resta – 1:15.718

16) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:15.878

17) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:16.885


Schumacher was fastest, but will not start on pole position

Schumacher was fastest, but will not start on pole position

Nico Rosberg was first up, but backed off on his first attempt. Romain Grosjean set a 1:14.639 to take top spot, with Nico Rosberg pipping him by 0.05 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton was 0.3 seconds off the pace, with Mark Webber moving into 3rd position. While the track was quiet with 3 minutes to go, Felipe Massa exited the pits. He went 8th, while Kimi Raikkonen took 6th.

Pastor Maldonado was next up, but was slightly held up by Massa. Fortunately, he didn’t vent his anger on the Ferrari like he did in third practice.

Fernando Alonso zipped up to 5th, but Mark Webber shocked many by flying onto provisional pole. Massa took 6th, while neither of the Lotuses improved on their times.

However, it wasn’t over yet. Qualifying was completely turned on its head, as Michael Schumacher blasted his way to the top of the timesheets. His 1:14.301 was marginally faster than anyone else, but his 5 place grid penalty from Spain drops him to 6th. This means that Mark Webber will start from pole position tomorrow.

Nico Rosberg will join him on the front row, with Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean just behind. The Ferraris were split by Schumacher, with Raikkonen, Maldonado and Vettel filling the top 10.

Schumacher hit with 5-place penalty for Monaco

Schumacher was deemed to have caused an avoidable accident

Schumacher was deemed to have caused an avoidable accident

Michael Schumacher has been punished for causing a collision with Bruno Senna at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Under braking at turn 1, Michael hit the back of Bruno’s Williams, causing both cars to spear into the gravel trap. Schumacher retired on the spot, while Senna continued on for half a lap before pulling over.

After the incident, Schumacher branded Senna an “idiot”, claiming he moved in the braking zone, but the stewards saw the event differently.

Michael will drop 5 places in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Rosberg heads Bahrain practice 2 while Force India pack up early

Rosberg was comfortably ahead of the Red Bulls

Rosberg was comfortably ahead of the Red Bulls

Nico Rosberg led second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the main story of the day was Force India packing up early for safety reasons.

After a team bus was caught up in a petrol bomb attack on Wednesday evening, the team has decided to leave the paddock early, in order to avoid the planned protests later on in the evening. It is expected that they will return for qualifying tomorrow, however.

Rosberg’s time of 1:32.816 was 4 tenths faster than Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel another 3 tenths back. Michael Schumacher had a near miss with Vettel near the end of the session at turn 10, but both cars emerged unscathed, with the Mercedes going 5th.

Despite leading proceedings, Rosberg warned that Mercedes’ tyre overheating issues were worse than ever:

"We have to analyse things. In general, conditions are probably the worst they
have been here with the tyres overheating.

We learned a lot and we are looking much better than maybe we would have thought. 
But we need to see where we are. We are having to make changes because out there 
it's very unusual - conditions are very tough."

Times from FP2:

 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:32.816            35 
 2. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:33.262  +0.446   26 
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:33.525  +0.709   28 
 4. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:33.747  +0.931   26 
 5. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:33.862  +1.046   31 
 6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.246  +1.430   28 
 7. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:34.411  +1.595   34 
 8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:34.449  +1.633   31 
 9. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:34.615  +1.799   32 
10. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:34.893  +2.077   34 
11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:34.895  +2.079   29 
12. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:34.941  +2.125   29 
13. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:35.183  +2.367   33 
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:35.229  +2.413   26 
15. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:35.459  +2.643   38 
16. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:35.913  +3.097   32 
17. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:35.968  +3.152   35 
18. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:36.169  +3.353   30 
19. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.587  +3.771   32 
20. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:37.803  +4.987   33 
21. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:37.812  +4.996   28 
22. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:39.649  +6.833   27
23. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 0
24. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 0

Chinese Grand Prix analysis: 2012 set to be a classic season?

After three different race winners in as many races, it is clear that the order has never been tighter at the top. With Mercedes seemingly getting over their tyre degradation issues, and Sauber and Lotus chasing the hells of the frontrunners, I feel there are as many as 8 potential race winners this year – 5 of them yet to show their full potential.

But back to the present situation. Nico Rosberg’s first win shows that he is finally ready to challenge the big boys, and with Mercedes looking more of a dominant force, we could be in for a classic season.

Nico joins Keke in F1’s most exclusive club

A long-overdue win for Rosberg means that he is the third son of an F1 driver to win a race himself. However, in the other two cases (Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill), their fathers’ lives had already been cut short, both in car-related accidents.

With Nico having become the 103rd Grand Prix winner in F1 history, the focus will now move to see can he challenge for the world championship.

It’s certainly not out of the question. Red Bull’s RB8 is a troubled car, and McLaren have fumbled their advantages far too many times already. With an innovative DRS system, as well as the most powerful engine on the grid, they must capitalise on their pace in the following few races.

Tyre degradation is less of an issue – after each pit stop, the mechanics checked Nico’s tyres for excess wear, but Rosberg had it perfectly under control. It was a well deserved win, and he can certainly go further.

Massa bashing: Round 3

Respected journalists are now calling him a “waste of petrol”. I can’t disagree with them – a 13th place is nothing short of dismal.

The most stark fact is that, aside from the three slowest teams – every single driver on the grid has scored points except for Massa. He brushed off his first two awful races, and called the Chinese GP the start of his season, but has instead proven himself to be even more of a joke.

Fernando Alonso slipped down the order after running wide near the end of the race, but still managed to score points in a difficult situation. Massa’s only notable feat was holding up half the field for several laps.

The hype over Sergio Perez’s prowess in Malaysia has died down, and many are looking to the end of the season for him to replace Massa. For many, that can not come soon enough.

Sauber becoming a credible threat?

One of the biggest surprises so far this year is the Sauber’s excellent pace – going completely against my predictions before Melbourne.

Perez’s race pace in Malaysia, combined with Kobayashi’s 3rd place in qualifying, shows that the team are going places. They have scored their best qualifying and race results ever (as an independent team), and it is apparent that they may take on the big guns.

Each of the Sauber drivers is ahead of one of the Lotus drivers, to give you an idea of their form. Kobayashi scored their first ever fastest lap, to wrap up their excellent few races.

It will be extremely difficult for the Hinwil squad to keep up with the frontrunners, but we will see how they fare in the next few races.

Rosberg storms to Chinese Grand Prix victory

Nico Rosberg has dominated today’s Chinese Grand Prix, to take his first ever F1 victory. He kept the lead at the start, and never looked back. Michael Schumacher was forced into retirement, while the final 10 laps saw a crazed battle for 2nd. Here is what happened:

At the start, the Mercedes drivers held their position, while Jenson Button moved through to 3rd, and Kamui Kobayashi slipped down past his teammate. Sebastian Vettel had a dismal start, falling to 14th place.

Nico pulled out a gap to Michael, while Mark Webber made a surprise switch to the primes on lap 7. His teammate was stuck in the midfield, complaining to the team that his RB8 was too slow on the straights.

A train of cars soon started to appear behind the second Mercedes car. Not wanting to be held up, Raikkonen and Hamilton stopped on lap 11. The Lotus were were slightly slower than the McLaren crew, and Kimi slipped behind Hamilton and Mark Webber, whose gamble had paid off.

Interestingly, both Mercedes cars proved surprisingly efficient at protecting their tyres. Schumacher was the first of the two to stop, but was pipped by Button. It was about to get much worse though, as he soon pulled over to retire, citing a problem with his rear wheel. The replays revealed that one of his wheels was not secured as he left his box.

Rosberg stopped a lap later, taking on primes, and leaving Perez briefly in front. However, the Sauber driver stayed out too long, and emerged in 10th, ahead of Vettel.

Sebastian soon found his way past Perez, while Romain Grosjean harassed Kamui Kobayashi for 7th. Webber was again the first to stop at the second pit stop phase. The McLarens pitted on laps 23 and 24, but Hamilton found himself stuck behind Felipe Massa for several laps.

Jenson found some good pace after his second stop, and attempted to close the gap to Rosberg as much as possible. After cruising past Vettel using DRS, he cut over 8 seconds off the gap. When Nico pitted, he was behind the McLaren, but Jenson had to stop once more.

Webber's casual push to catch the car ahead

Webber's casual push to catch the car ahead

Further back, Lewis Hamilton was hounding Sergio Perez for 3rd. The Mexican driver locked his tyres horribly, but impressively managed to hold off the McLaren, despite running on much older tyres. He eventually made his final stop with 20 laps to go.

Replays showed Mark Webber launching his car off the kerbs of turn 13, amazingly causing no terminal damage to the Red Bull.

Button failed to increase the gap to Rosberg, and a slow pit stop ruined his chances of challenging for the win. He emerged in 6th, as a slow left rear wheel caused the delay.

A 10-car train formed behind Felipe Massa, as the Ferrari’s poor pace and different strategy closed up the field nicely. When he finally pitted, Kimi Raikkonen was 2nd, ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso made a move on Pastor Maldonado, but ran wide on the marbles and lost a place to Sergio Perez.

Romain Grosjean made the same mistake while trying to pass Vettel, and rejoined the track while clashing wheels with Maldonado. They battled for half a lap side-by-side until Grosjean came out on top.

With 10 laps to go, a huge train of cars were still battling for 2nd. Kimi Raikkonen lost several places in one lap, being passed by Vettel, then running wide and losing 2 more spots. Car after car sliced past the Lotus, leaving Raikkonen 10th a lap later. The Saubers pushed each other to the limits of the track, with Kobayashi moving past Perez.

With 5 laps to go, the battle was cut down to three world champions – Vettel, Button and Hamilton. Sebastian’s tyres were badly worn, and Jenson out-braked the Red Bull into turn 14. Lewis sailed past for 3rd with two laps to go, leaving the Red Bulls 4th and 5th.

On the final lap, Webber sliced past his teammate around the outside of turn 14, sealing the positions of the top 5. The crazy racing of the final 20 laps directed attention away from Nico Rosberg, who cruised to his first ever well-deserved Formula 1 victory.

The delight from the Mercedes team was clear – after two disappointing races, Rosberg has finally shown his full potential, and given the team its first victory in 57 years.

Lewis Hamilton now leads the drivers championship, followed closely by teammate Button, with Alonso and Webber behind.

Rosberg takes first Mercedes pole in 57 years in China

Nico Rosberg took a surprise pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, causing a major upset by leading the field by half a second.

Michael Schumacher was 3rd, but will start alongside his teammate due to Lewis Hamilton’s grid drop. Kamui Kobayashi was a surprise 4th, and will start 3rd tomorrow. Here is what happened:


Paul di Resta started proceedings with a 1:38.190. This was promptly beaten by over a second by Lewis Hamilton, pushing ahead of his teammate.

Kamui Kobayashi split the McLarens, while Webber pipped Lewis for 1st place. Jenson got within 0.06 seconds of Mark’s time to demote Hamilton to 3rd.

Felipe Massa was struggling in 16th, so he was forced to use a set of the soft tyres to survive Q1. A final push on the new rubber put Massa on top of the timesheets. However, he was soon displaced by Romain Grosjean.

Despite having good pace, Perez decided to use the option in Q1 as well, and set a 1:36.198 to end the session on top. Jean-Eric Vergne was almost a second off his teammate’s time, and was knocked out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:37.714

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:38.676

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:38.677

21) Timo Glock – 1:39.282

22) Charles Pic – 1:39.717

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:40.411

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:41.127


Kamui Kobayashi was first out, setting a 1:35,962, but was soon displaced by Nico Rosberg. The top 5 were separated by 2 tenths of a second.

It was a poor start for Red Bull, with Vettel only 6th and Webber 9th. Romain Grosjean messed up his first attempt, and left it until the final few minutes to set his time.

The two Ferraris went on their final runs at the same time. Alonso did his best to trouble the frontrunners, but was only 6th, while Massa was 10th.

Mark Webber ended Q2 on top, while the Renaults shoved Sebastian Vettel out of the top 10 in the final minute. The double world champion will start 11th on the grid.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sebastian Vettel – 1:36.031

12) Felipe Massa – 1:36.255

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:36.283

14) Bruno Senna – 1:36.289

15) Paul di Resta – 1:36.317

16) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:36.745

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:36.956


Kimi Raikkonen was straight out at the start of Q3, setting a 1:35.898. However, Nico Rosberg set a fantastic 1:35.121 to take top spot. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton were half a second slower than the Mercedes driver.

Mark Webber was over a second off Rosberg’s time. Jenson Button had a similarly poor lap, ensuring both drivers were out of contention for pole.

Kamui Kobayashi shocked many in the paddock by going 4th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Schumacher were unable to improve on their times, leaving Rosberg half a second in front of the entire grid. This ensured that Mercedes take their first pole position since Italy 1955.

Lewis Hamilton will drop from 2nd to 7th, meaning that Mercedes have effectively locked out the front row, with Kobayashi an incredible 3rd.

Schumacher pips Hamilton in Chinese second practice

Schumacher showed good pace in the Mercedes

Schumacher showed good pace in the Mercedes

Michael Schumacher edged out Lewis Hamilton in second practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes’ “Super DRS” gave it the advantage down the back straight, keeping Hamilton in second place. The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were 3rd and 4th.

Paul di Resta and Heikki Kovalainen had spins during the session. Timo Glock was not so lucky, wiping the front wing and nose from his Marussia at turn 1.

Times from FP2:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:35.973            32
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:36.145    0.172   29
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:36.160    0.187   26
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:36.433    0.460   23
 5.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:36.617    0.644   30
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:36.711    0.738   27
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:36.956    0.983   28
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:36.966    0.993   30
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:37.191    1.218   30
10.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:37.316    1.343   32
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:37.417    1.444   22
12.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:37.616    1.643   33
13.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:37.836    1.863   30
14.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:37.930    1.957   31
15.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:37.972    1.999   25
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:38.176    2.203   34
17.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:38.293    2.320   30
18.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1:38.783    2.810   37
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:38.990    3.017   36
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:39.346    3.373   19
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:39.651    3.678   15
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1:40.343    4.370   24
23.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:40.753    4.780   30
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1:41.125    5.162   26

Australian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren heading a new pecking order?

The first race of the 2012 Formula 1 season has brought with it the usual bundle of surprises, and the Australian Grand Prix showed us a glimpse of what’s to come over the next 19 races.

As McLaren and Red Bull strengthen their position at the top, Ferrari faltered, but Mercedes and Lotus failed to capitalise. Teams like Williams and Toro Rosso impressed with good race pace, while Marussia were quietly impressive at the back of the field.

Let’s have a look at what we learned from last weekend:

McLaren vs Red Bull – a year-long battle?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

The first race of the season clearly showed McLaren’s strong pace. They locked out the front row in qualifying, and should have held their footing in the race, if it was not for an ill-timed safety car.

Meanwhile, Red Bull were worryingly poor in qualifying – it was the first time since Monza 2010 that neither Red Bull was on the front row – but fought back well to split their rivals.

What’s interesting is that, once Red Bull get a hold of their qualifying issues, the teams will be almost neck-and-neck at the front. Until then however, Button and Hamilton will look at building their points tally. This raises another interesting debate, as to which of the British drivers will end the season on top.

Button showed superior start-line traction, and after that he sailed into the distance. Hamilton was clearly rattled, and suffered for the rest of the race. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to close rapidly, and deny McLaren a perfect start to the season.

His Australian GP jinx aside, Mark Webber looks stronger than last year – though he had to be, to be honest. Despite this, with the EBD ban, he appears more than capable of challenging his teammate.

With all of these drivers looking competitive, we are facing a distinct possibility of all 4 drivers duking it out for the world championship.

Ferrari’s woes, Mercedes’ gain

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

There is no denying how atrocious the Ferrari F2012 is in terms of pace – 12th and 16th in qualifying proved this. Even their fellow Italian team, Toro Rosso, did better than this.

The team will undoubtedly look to Fernando Alonso to lead the Scuderia’s charge back up the field, but that will take time. As we saw in practice, the F2012 was wildly uncontrollable exiting corners, showing that Ferrari are still struggling to understand their own radical design.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have enjoyed excellent pace so far this year. Pole position in Australia was a definite possibility for Nico Rosberg, until he binned his lap at Turn 3.

A disastrous race left the Brackley squad without a single point, but the potential is still there to win races. Michael Schumacher’s 4th place in qualifying, followed up by running 3rd until his retirement, showed that he has improved greatly since his comeback. Rosberg’s race pace was much more disappointing, however.

Still, the rear wing F-duct innovation shows that the team are in with a chance of taking on the top two teams.

Contrasting fortunes at the back

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

HRT showed the world why they deserve to be racing in the highest level of motorsport – by flunking testing and failing to qualify. Enough said.

Marussia, on the other hand, enjoyed a relatively successful race, taking a 14th placed finish, equaling their best so far. Rookie Charles Pic stayed out of trouble, though he was forced to back off massively in the last few laps, eventually retiring with an oil pressure issue.

Rivals Caterham retired both cars with mechanical issues, confirming their horrid reliability for another season. With this, consistency and reliability is key for Marussia. If the time ever comes when much of the field are out of the running, they need to be ready to take advantage.

Latest young driver shoot-out

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Toro Rosso’s ditching of Alguersuari and Buemi came as a relief to many – their latest duo of Vergne and Ricciardo has provided a fresh rivalry in the midfield.

Their last-gasp battle for points showed that neither is afraid to back down, and the fact that they didn’t collide shows a relative amount of maturity to their driving. I’m personally a fan of both drivers, and as of yet cannot determine who may end up on top.

This leaves us with an exciting battle within the Faenza squad. So far, Ricciardo has the upper hand, but only just. Can he remain on top for the entire season?

Schumacher tops Australian second practice

Schumacher topped another rain-affected session

Schumacher topped another rain-affected session

Michael Schumacher put Mercedes on top of second practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

Like first practice, this session began wet, but slowly dried out over the afternoon.

As the track was even wetter than before, there was very little dry running for the teams. Schumacher pipped Nico Hulkenberg by a tenth of a second near the end of the day.

Sergio Perez spun his Sauber into the gravel at Turn 14, but was able to continue. Mark Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne, Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo all had off-track moments in the tricky conditions.

Marussia improved well compared to FP1. Timo Glock managed 12th, just behind the Red Bulls, and ahead of the McLarens.

However, HRT had another dismal session. Pedro de la Rosa did a single installation lap, while Narain Karthikeyan was 13 seconds off the pace after 16 laps. The team struggled massively with hydraulic problems.

Kamui Kobayashi had a spectacular end to the session, weaving manically for control exiting the final corner before spinning 180 degrees.

Times from FP2:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:29.183          16
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    1:29.292  +0.109  19
 3.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:30.199  +1.016  23
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:30.341  +1.158  13
 5.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:30.709  +1.526  14
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:31.466  +2.283  13
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:31.505  +2.322  14
 8.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault        1:31.932  +2.749  16
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:32.184  +3.001  17
10.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:32.194  +3.011  19
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:32.296  +3.113  20
12.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth       1:32.632  +3.449  17
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault        1:32.767  +3.584  15
14.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault           1:32.822  +3.639  11
15.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.039  +3.856  18
16.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.252  +4.069  11
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault        1:34.108  +4.925  21
18.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault           1:34.275  +5.092   7
19.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault        1:34.312  +5.129  17
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.485  +5.302  29
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.604  +5.421  31
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth       1:34.770  +5.587  13
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1:42.627  +13.444 16
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth                               1