07/10/11 - 06:00
Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka Circuit • Free Practice 2

Free Practice 2

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We'll be back tomorrow for more action from Suzuka. At 3am UK time there's the final practice session, while at 6am it's time for qualifying.


So Button top of the tree for the second session in a row, but Red Bull ominous on the 'race' stint. All to play for tomorrow though.


A note on Maldonado - Williams say it was an engine problem which led to the car grinding to a halt. Plenty for the Williams team to do before qualifying tomorrow.


That brings the session to a close. There'll be an opportunity to do a practice start before the session winds up.


So Vettel and Webber are third and fourth on the timesheets, but it really looks like their session after the times they've laid down in the last 20 minutes.


Kobayashi runs wide on the Spoon curve - he's been very erratic today - far from his best ride in the Sauber.


Electrical problems for Trulli's Lotus - he's had a thoroughly frustrating day.


Senna dives into the pits - he's going to knock off four minutes early for the day.


Massa due in the Ferrari garage - it appears he may have a tyre switch to a softer compound as the session draws to a close.


Although having had a little bit of clearer air, Button responds with a 1:38.9. So McLaren are closer to Ferrari than Red Bull.


Hard to be entirely sure what Button's true 'race' pace is - he's had a lot of traffic to contend with.


Schumacher complains on the radio of 'funny behaviour' from the rear end of the car. He's lapping in the 1:39s.


Alonso certainly pushing hard, but he's running in the low 1:39s, while Vettel is in the high 1:37s.


Always hard to be exactly sure what fuel loads the drivers are running - but on first impression it looks as if Red Bull are quickest. Webber and Vettel a good second ahead of Alonso. That's ominous.


A little belatedly, Hamilton is heading out for a few laps.


Rosberg about three-tenths of a second behind Schumacher on pace - the veteran has always enjoyed himself at Suzuka, and has had two very decent practice sessions this morning.


Adjustments being made to Hamilton's car - that's why he hasn't got out on the track yet.


The Mercedes duo are in the pits, but they are the exception. Hamilton and Kobayashi also in garage, but the rest are on their 'race' stints.


Some team-mate battles - Petrov well ahead of Senna (9th, 14th) -Di Resta behind Sutil (12th, 15th).


McLaren look very good in these first two sessions - and Button has had the edge on Hamilton in both the morning and afternoon.


With 20 minutes to go in the session the timesheets look like this: Button, Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Massa, Schumacher, Hamilton, Petrov, Buemi, Rosberg.


A quiet couple of minutes on the track as the drivers and teams study the data from the day's sessions.


The top four racers back in the pits, and that may be that for the quick times. Now the focus tends to be a test of the harder 'race compounds' in the final available stint.


HUGE SPIN FROM KOBAYASHI! Loses the back of the car completely, and he's massively lucky to save himself from a spectacular track exit. Tried to commit to the corner with DRS.


Yellow flags are gone, but Hamilton comes around on this next lap more than a second behind Button's mark. Button is starting to run out of challengers for his top spot.


The yellow flag still being shown in response to Maldonado pulling off.


The yellow flag is affecting the drivers in the second sector here - first Vettel has to stop pushing, then Hamilton, who was quickest of all in sector one, has to back off.


Vettel out on a flyer - is this the moment we see the German stamp his authority on the weekend? He's the winner of the last two races here.


Oh dear - Maldonado stops almost exactly where team-mate Barrichello spun off. So that's both Williams grinding to a halt one way or another. Miserable session.


Trulli ambling along on the back straight, and yellow flags are up - fortunately for Button, though, he's passed him before he can be slowed down. He picks up two-tenths on Alonso with a 1:31.901.


Early indications good for Button - 0.157 ahead of Alonso after the first sector...


Button driving very smoothly on his outlap as he prepares to put down a quick time on the option tyres.


Hopes are very high in Japan for Kamui Kobayashi on his home GP, but he's not looked particularly sharp today. Perez outperforming him so far in this session (10th to 15th) - and as the Japanese driver attempts to change that he almost puts his Sauber off the track.


New best time from Alonso - 1:32.075 - just under four-tenths better than Massa.


Alonso is out in the Ferrari - will be very interesting to see how he matches up against his team-mate, who has put down a good marker.


Perez up to 9th on the fast tyres. As for Rosberg, he's well adrift in 15th place. Some way down on his team-mate still.


Massa the only member of the top seven running on track at the moment. Hamilton's time only good enough for 8th at the moment.


Traffic for Hamilton to negotiate, but he appears to be running on the medium tyres in any case, rather than the options.


BARRICHELLO HAS A NASTY SPIN - Puts his wheels on the grass at Degnel one - loses complete control of the car, and thuds into the tyre wall. That looks like the end of the Brazilian's work for the day.


Petrov pops up to second place on a quick run. Senna up to ninth.


Massa posts a 1:32.448 - that's approximately a second quicker than Alonso on the medium compound.


Massa about to cruise into the top position for the moment - he's got a huge advantage after two sectors...


Option tyres out - and now you'll see some times drop. Want proof? Alguersuari has just put the first option lap down, and he's shot up to third place.


So after 40 minutes it's Alonso still heading the field - the top three teams occupying the top six places. Senna had the biggest incident, but came away from his spin completly unscathed and able to continue.


Button unhappy with the balance of the car - so he's coming in to the pits for a quick adjustment of his rear wing.


Not terrific news for Force India - Di Resta being affected by wind, while Sutil is apparently suffering from understeer.


No improvement in time from Schumacher - and he's back in the pits after a five-lap stint.


We're still about a second short of last year's lap times in the same sessions - the track was fairly dirty this morning, and we may yet see the track improve over the next two sessions.


Some key cars back out on track. It was Webber first, then Alonso and Button, followed by Vettel.


SENNA OFF AT TURN ONE! Stranded in the gravel - or is he? The Brazilian had the DRS open as he turned in, but despite the slide, he managed to keep the engine running. The stewards give him a push, and he's back on his way!


Something of a quiet spell here as the front-runners pause and read a little telemetry.


Schumacher begins a second run in the Mercedes, while Sauber's Perez is also underway.


Crisp sunshine here in Japan, by the way - ideal conditions for the drivers.


Nine laps for Vettel in all, then - that's four more laps on his run than Webber made.


Whoops - Rosberg runs off at turn one - but the Mercedes man is back on track without too much drama.


Alguersuari steals his way past Schumacher for 7th place now - Vettel is the only one of the top racers on track at the moment.


Vettel continuing to shave time off his best lap, but yet to improve on third place.


Looks as if Alonso is now easing off - Webber has already ducked back into the pits. Meanwhile the Toro Rossos continue to make their way up the grid, with Alguersuari a creditable eighth.


Good little joust here on the timesheets - Alonso nips back ahead of Webber, taking the benchmark down to a 1:33.503.


Webber ducks a tenth of a second below Alonso's best. So it's Red Bull, Ferrari, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, McLaren in the pecking order so far.


Vettel eases into third place as his stint continues. Meanwhile the McLarens return to the pits, Massa jumps to fourth.


Webber up to second, no sign of a quick one from Vettel for now, but with his car in such good working order all season the German can take a slightly longer view to the session.


Schumacher, who had much the better of his team-mate this morning, continues to dominate Rosberg on the timesheets, going up to fourth.


Strong lap from Alonso - a 1:33.854 to supercede the two McLarens. The Ferraris were inconspicuous in the first session.


Vettel not quite up to speed yet - he slots in at eighth with a lap a couple of seconds behind the McLarens.


Hamilton has just crept ahead of his team-mate with a 1:34.529. Nothing separating the McLarne pair this morning. No sign of the Ferraris yet, while the Red Bulls are on track but yet to post times.


Liuzzi has gone off on the back straight - looks like that may have been a technical problem. He's parked up by the wall.


Here comes Vettel for his first activity of the session. He begins by simulating a race start from the pitlane.


Button flying, the first of the big guns to put a time on the board. His 1:34.562 is some way better than his rivals for the moment.


All the drivers stuck to the medium compound tyres in the first session, too - when they make the switch to softs and qualifying-style tyres we should see those times tumble.


To put it in some context, however, Button was more than two seconds quicker than Petrov's best - so expect some considerable drop in those times.


Some early times on the board - Petrov is the leader - the Renault man posting a 1:35.471.


Vettel watching intently in the cockpit of his car. Looks like final changes are being made to get that car ready.


Earlier this morning Button went quickest in FP1 and Vettel ended the session with a crash.


Quiet start, but the minnows are out straight away. Kovalainen first to go - he sat out the first session as Chandhok drove.


Good morning everyone and welcome to live text commentary from free practice two of the Japanese GP at Suzuka.