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Sebastian Vettel reprised his familiar position on the top of the timesheets in second practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix in Austin.
The unusual looking results from FP1 were replaced with Red Bull in the top two slots, followed by the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
But an encouraging fifth place went to Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus. The Finn, stepping in for injured compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, was just seven-tenths of a second adrift of Vettel and quicker than teammate Romain Grosjean.
But regardless of the rest of the field, it was Vettel who looked like the class act—both on the quicker tyres and on the prime tyres when running a race simulation.
At one stage, as reported by Autosport, he was told to slow down by his team because his lap of 1:42.9 was still faster than the time plan proposed by his engineers.
If that is his biggest worry this weekend, there's no reason to assume the German won't seal an eighth consecutive Grand Prix victory.
Elsewhere on the track, both Saubers fared well and bagged top eight positions—good enough to be ahead of both McLarens and Ferraris, and some indication of how far Formula 1's two leading marques have drifted away from the front of the grid as the season wears on.
Tyres lasted well on longer stints, suggesting that teams will look to avoid too many trips to the pits on race day.
Here are the session times as recorded by Lotus: