Schumacher suffers practice skid

Andover Advertiser: Michael Schumacher skidded off on his way to setting the 10th fastest time in practice Michael Schumacher skidded off on his way to setting the 10th fastest time in practice

Retiring Formula One great Michael Schumacher made an unwanted impact in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix as Red Bull took the fight to McLaren at Suzuka.

Schumacher, who on Thursday announced his decision to step down from driving at the end of the year, pushed a little too hard and made a costly error at Spoon Curve, dropping a rear wheel onto the grass and skidding into the barriers, eventually winding up 10th fastest.

McLaren had enjoyed the better of the morning session, with Jenson Button leading Lewis Hamilton at the top of the standings. But Red Bull had not shown their hand in the earlier running, and they looked far stronger in the afternoon as Mark Webber led the way with a lap of one minute 32.493 seconds to beat Hamilton by just over two-tenths of a second.

Sebastian Vettel, the closest man to championship leader Fernando Alonso in the standings, backed up his team-mate's showing with the third-fastest time.

Nico Hulkenberg raised hopes that Force India can follow up a strong showing in Singapore as he claimed fourth, but it was an awful session for his team-mate Paul Di Resta.

The Scot brought out the red flags early in the session, making the same error Schumacher would later replicate at Spoon Curve, ruling him out of the remainder of the 90 minutes of running and finishing bottom of the timesheets.

Alonso, trying to fend off a five-strong chasing pack in the title race, was fifth fastest and Ferrari appear to once again be well shy of the pace of McLaren and Red Bull.

Sixth went to Romain Grosjean's Lotus, while Button dropped back to seventh after topping the times earlier in the day.

Bruno Senna was eighth, having sat out the first practice session as reserve driver Valtteri Bottas was given some seat time, with Felipe Massa and Schumacher rounding out the top 10.

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