Britons Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button led the way on Friday in the second practice session for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
Hamilton led the McLarens, posting one minute 25.801 seconds for the 5.303 kilometre-long lap around Albert Park in wet conditions.
Close to the finish of a red-hot lap, Button’s car was impeded by one of the Saubers as he had to settle for second in the session, 0.275 seconds behind.
Hamilton and Button won the Australian race en route to world titles in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Local hero Mark Webber aboard a Red Bull came third, giving Australian fans a thrill by clocking 1:26.248 and finishing in front of German maestro Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP.
Schumacher managed to outpace his Mercedes GP teammate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season as Rosberg came tenth.
Russia’s Vitaly Petrov brought his Renault in fifth in a rain-interrupted session. Poland’s Robert Kubica, driving the other Renault, ended the day 11th after posting the fastest time in the morning session ahead of Rosberg.
The Ferrari pairing of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who had come one-two in the season-opener in Bahrain two weeks ago, were off the pace, finishing 15th and 17th respectively. Webber’s teammate, rising German Sebastian Vettel, split the Ferrari pair in 16th.