McLaren dominated the times for the second free practice session for the Korean Grand Prix as the second 90 minutes of running provided no more dry running than the first had.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were split by 0.104sec, but the pair were 1.7sec quicker than the rest of the field, headed by new double World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
The second session exploded into life as soon as the pit lane opened with all the vivacity the first practice had lacked. None of the teams had achieved any worthwhile running in the first one, and even with the track still wet, the priority seemed to be to put the laps on the board.
Very quickly the Red Bull pair established themselves at the top of the times, with Vettel leading Mark Webber. But that only lasted as long as it took for the McLarens to get out of the garages and up to speed. Then Button and Hamilton began trading times over first position.
By the time they'd settled the initial argument, half an hour of the session had gone by, and Hamilton was top with a 1m50.828s, Button half a second behind – the track still wet enough for inters with the rain sporadic. The silver cars were two seconds faster than their Red Bull rivals.
Button returned to the track with 35 minutes gone and began setting fastest split times, improving to within 0.104sec but staying second before returning to the pits, his set of inters finally shot. Things stayed the same for a while until Fernando Alonso fired in a lap good enough to put him third fastest with 40 minutes to go. Yet the Ferrari driver was 1.9sec behind the two McLarens, which seemed the car most happy in the intermediate conditions.
The Red Bulls returned to the track at the turn of final half hour and Vettel immediately re-established himself in third, but only just, the champion still 1.8sec off Hamilton's time. It was about this time that the most curious incident of the day occurred when Nico Rosberg collected Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso as the Spaniard exited the pits.
The Mercedes driver ran wide on the exit of the very tight left-hander that is Turn 1 and simply skated into the Toro Rosso, damaging both cars. Not long after Alguersuari was on the radio complaining about the dangers of exiting the pits in Korea. They weren't the only ones going off, though: Hamilton, Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Bruno Senna and several others all had similar moments.
Into the final 10 minutes, still the track wasn't entirely dry. Sebastien Buemi tried the super-soft tires, but a spin on his out lap gave Toro Rosso its answer as to the adhesion levels on the track. Webber, too, went on to the softer slicks and fared better in that he didn't spin, but no way was the Red Bull changing the order.
So, in the end, the McLarens headed Vettel, Alonso and Webber with Alguersuari remaining an impressive sixth. Felipe Massa ended up seventh ahead of Rosberg, Buemi and Paul di Resta completing the top 10.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.828s 26
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.932s + 0.104 19
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m52.646s + 1.818 30
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m52.774s + 1.946 25
5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m53.049s + 2.221 27
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m53.402s + 2.574 25
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m53.707s + 2.879 24
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m53.914s + 3.086 18
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m53.948s + 3.120 27
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m53.957s + 3.129 32
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m54.200s + 3.372 26
12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m54.392s + 3.564 26
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m54.831s + 4.003 30
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m54.965s + 4.137 21
15. Bruno Senna Renault 1m55.187s + 4.359 28
16. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m55.203s + 4.375 24
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m55.544s + 4.716 23
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m56.067s + 5.239 22
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m56.669s + 5.841 20
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m57.173s + 6.345 19
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m58.269s + 7.441 25
22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m59.458s + 8.630 26
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m59.958s + 9.130 19
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 2m00.165s + 9.337 20
All Timing Unofficial