Mark Webber was quickest again in practice Mark Webber has continued his impressive run this weekend at Sepang, finishing quickest once again at the end of the second free practice session for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

But unlike the first practice session – where he was quickest to the tune of almost two seconds – the Australian was given a serious run for his money by Jenson Button, who took his McLaren around the circuit just five-thousandths of a second slower than Webber’s best effort of the ninety-minute session.

In contrast to the first session’s spread of times where three seconds covered the top-ten on the timesheets, the gap had been trimmed to two seconds in the second session, with the top four drivers separated by less than a quarter of a second. Behin Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel completed a Red Bull and McLaren sweep of the top-four positions, which Michael Schumacher was the fastest driver outside this quartet – albeit a full second slower – in fifth.

Afternoon rain was expected to his the circuit today, but it stayed away from Sepang and gave the teams more time to evaluate the wear characteristics of the Pirelli tyres, which were being run in properly hot conditions for the first time this year.

Several teams were hoping this session would provide more mileage after a troubled opening practice session, and Renault was top of that list after losing both cars to sudden front wheel failure around the brake hubs of their R31 challengers. Despite the lengthy repairs being carried out to both Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov’s cars, they managed a combined total of 33 laps by the end of the session, with Heidfeld finishing the session eighth-fastest.

Another team hoping for more mileage was Hispania Racing, whose drivers suffered a reversal in fortune in contrast to the morning’s session, which saw Narain Karthikeyan grind to a halt with an engine problem. This time, the Indian driver managed more miles in the F111 – although it was still heavily afflicted by smoker’s cough – while team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi lost track mileage when his car stopped with an electrical problem.

Pastor Maldonado slides into the tyre wallIt was a generally uneventful session, although the one bigger moment was a minor crash for Pastor Maldonado, who made a mistake en route to the pit lane and nose into the tyre barriers.

The session saw the first running of the softer-compound tyres, with drivers lapping some eight seconds a lap slower than the benchmark pace when running with some fuel onboard.

 

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 1:36.876 24
2. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.005 30
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.134 23
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.214 30
5. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.212 26
6. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 1.213 31
7. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.689 25
8. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 1.694 16
9. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 1.707 27
10. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 1.970 31
11. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.092 25
12. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.311 30
13. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 2.391 17
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.522 29
15. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.727 34
16. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.749 31
17. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.933 28
18. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 3.239 31
19. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 3.990 24
20. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 5.014 19
21. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.321 15
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 7.115 14
23. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 8.010 4
24. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 no time 0

[Images via Formula1.com, GP Update, LAT and Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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