Australia GP: McLarens 1-2 in practice 2

Jenson Button tops session 2

Were they sandbagging? After a mediocre preseason, McLaren finished 1-2 in the second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were the only men to break through the 1m25s barrier.

Whether or not McLaren's pace is a true measure of the overall picture remains unclear however, for Red Bull's drivers, who dominated session one, were instructed not to use their adjustable rear wings for much of the session.

In the end, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on the Option tires, could do no better than 4th and 5th behind Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, which ended the session third.

Michael Schumacher improved to sixth fastest in the Mercedes, having been fastest of all for a while. Felipe Massa, one of several drivers to run off-track during the session, was seventh.

"Today showed that, first of all, we've got reliability – which is great," said Button.

"That's something we've not had all winter, so to have a car that runs for as many laps as we want it to is very satisfying. It also means we can get stuck into our set-up work and improve the car.

"I don't think there's much to be gained from looking at today's times though, so I'm not going to get too carried away. Still, it's been a positive day because we've been able to do so much running and get a good feeling for the car on different fuel-loads."

McLaren arrived in Melbourne with a new exhaust system fixed to their MP4-26. The design is similar to that used by Ferrari and Red Bull and Button reckons it's a huge part of McLaren's improved pace.

"The new exhaust has definitely brought performance to the car – it feels much better, makes the handling more 'complete'.

"When you have downforce at the rear, you can also add it at the front, and then you put temperature in the tires – there's so much that comes with downforce.

"I'm so happy with how hard the guys have worked and what they've brought to this race – they've worked really hard and they've delivered something good here.

"We don't yet know how good, but we're encouraged by the step we've made today."



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.854s +0.000 32
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.986s +0.132 31
3. Alonso Ferrari 1m26.001s +0.147 28
4. Vettel Red Bull-Infiniti 1m26.014s +0.160 35
5. Webber Red Bull-Infiniti 1m26.283s +0.429 33
6. Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.590s +0.736 31
7. Massa Ferrari 1m26.789s +0.935 34
8. Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.101s +1.247 39
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m27.280s +1.426 34
10. Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.448s +1.594 23
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.525s +1.671 31
12. Petrov Renault 1m27.528s +1.674 29
13. Heidfeld Renault 1m27.536s +1.682 22
14. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.697s +1.843 30
15. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.095s +2.241 35
16. di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m28.376s +2.522 33
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.583s +2.729 31
18. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m29.386s +3.532 29
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m30.829s +4.975 22
20. Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m30.912s +5.058 23
21. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m32.106s +6.252 36
22. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m32.135s +6.281 30
23. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth No time 1

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