11:00am Saturday 12th October 2013
The Grove-based Williams Formula 1 team were fined £50,000 after Pastor Maldonado lost his left rear wheel in the first practice session for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
An investigation discovered it had not been securely fastened, resulting in Williams being fined €60,000 (£50,852).
The Venezuela Maldonado was also one of three drivers to be caught out on the approach to Suzuka’s second Degner curve in the second session. The others were Marussia’s Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde in his Caterham.
Lotus, based at Enstone, had a happier time.
Kimi Raikkonen did find a gravel trap that brought his second session to a close 35 minutes early, but still recorded the fourth best time.
The Finn was narrowly ahead of teammate Romain Grosjean, with Lewis Hamilton only sixth in his Mercedes and with a time three tenths of a second slower than his leading best in first practice.
Leading the way after second practice was runaway world championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
The German finished 0.168secs ahead of Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, with Nico Rosberg a quarter of a second down in his Mercedes.
Vettel heads into the weekend knowing if he wins a fifth successive race – following his recent successes in Belgium, Italy, Singapore and Korea– and Fernando Alonso finishes ninth or lower – the German will be crowned world champion for a fourth consecutive season. Alonso was down in a miserable tenth place.
Briton Jenson Button was ninth in his McLaren.
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