Lewis Hamilton continued his strong start to his McLaren swansong weekend as he went fastest again in second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel was second, three places ahead of title rival Fernando Alonso.
Both Vettel and Alonso had spells on top during the afternoon, but Hamilton moved comfortably clear in the closing stages when the field switched to the softer tires.
It was Alonso's Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa who held sway at first, before being usurped by Vettel's Red Bull after 12 minutes.
Vettel's 1m15.226s was good enough to keep him on top for nearly half an hour, although Jenson Button came within a few fractions of displacing him. It was Alonso who eventually did push the champion off the top, putting in a 1m15.150s. That was the last benchmark time of the hard-tire period, with Romain Grosjean becoming the first frontrunner to try the medium compound shortly afterward. The Lotus did not need long to beat Alonso.
There followed a frantic spell in which Nico Rosberg, Massa and then Hamilton held the top spot within two minutes. But once back in front, Hamilton would stay there. His 1m14.026s lap was half a second clear of the field at that stage, and the closest anyone could get was Vettel's 1m14.300s.
Mark Webber completed the top three in the second Red Bull, ahead of the Ferraris of Massa and Alonso.
Mercedes was near the leaders throughout the session, with Michael Schumacher and Rosberg ending up sixth and seventh, followed by Button and Grosjean.
Paul di Resta pipped Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by just 0.002sec to grab the final top-10 spot.
At the back, HRT again completed significantly less mileage than its rivals, while Charles Pic had to park his Marussia with what the team believes was an alternator problem.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.026s 35
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m14.300s + 0.274 40
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.523s + 0.497 37
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.553s + 0.527 37
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.592s + 0.566 37
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.654s + 0.628 36
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.669s + 0.643 40
8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.863s + 0.837 40
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m14.994s + 0.968 37
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m15.129s + 1.103 39
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.131s + 1.105 40
12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m15.371s + 1.345 39
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m15.432s + 1.406 45
14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.542s + 1.516 35
15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.839s + 1.813 43
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.902s + 1.876 39
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.953s + 1.927 47
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.048s + 2.022 40
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m16.126s + 2.100 39
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m16.655s + 2.629 42
21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m17.244s + 3.218 15
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.675s + 3.649 42
23. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m18.127s + 4.101 31
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m18.139s + 4.113 15