Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing managed to keep the upper hand in FP2 for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Driving on soft tyres, the Australian shaved a full 2.7 seconds off his morning time to clock in at 1:22.470 minutes and reclaim his place at the front of the field. But Red Bull were not quite as dominant as they had been on Friday morning, as Lewis Hamilton came within 0.039 seconds of their best time.
Which meant that world champion Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third place. The German was 0.356 seconds down on team-mate Webber and, like Hamilton, also spun off track at one point. Jenson Button was 0.718 seconds behind Webber, one of a select group who came within a second of the man heading the timesheets. Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg finished the day in P5 and P6, while Michael Schumacher in seventh was a full 1.511 seconds off the fastest lap time.
The remaining places in the Top 10 went to Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld and Kamui Kobayashi. Swiss-based Sebastien Buemi finished the session in 13th. Worryingly far behind were the tail-enders. The 107-percent mark in this session was 1:28.243 minutes, a time that several cars could not beat today.
Adrian Sutil, Narain Karthikeyan, Tonio Liuzzi and Timo Glock would not have been lining up for the race on Sunday if the discrepancy apparent in today's practice session were repeated in tomorrow's qualifying. In Sutil's defence, however, he was stuck in the pit for rather a long time and consequently missed out on valuable practice time. Glock will have taken comfort from the fact that Virgin team-mate d'Ambrosio could beat the 107-percent rap. HRT will be hoping that the top teams will be using hard tyres in Q1 on Saturday while they will be sallying forth on softs. Otherwise, the situation could be really tight.
If someone sets a fastest lap of 1:22.470 minutes, the 107% cut-off will be 1:28.243 – in other words, the HRT pilots will be out of the race.