Kimi Räikkönen continued his strong form in Malaysia by topping the second practice session that saw mixed conditions.
After finishing second-fastest in the first practice in the morning, the Australian Grand Prix winner clocked a time of 1.36.569 on the medium tyres, which finally got their first running for the weekend. The time was set in the first hour as a brief rain shower caused teams to scurry back to their garages before getting in some useful intermediate running as more rain is predicted over the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel showed Red Bull Racing as one of the teams to beat by finishing in second just behind Räikkönen. Vettel’s time was good enough to edge out both Ferraris, with Felipe Massa impressively pipping his team-mate by three-tenths of a second, and he looks to be in strong form at the start of the season.
Mark Webber was fifth in the sister RB9 ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg for Mercedes. Rosberg’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton again wasn’t able to match his time, but was only one-tenth away from the German.
Paul di Resta was eighth-fastest while his fellow Force India driver Adrian Sutil rounded out the top ten, but only managed to complete ten laps and was forced to sit out most of the session as a precaution with an oil seal failure.
It was yet another mixed session for McLaren, with Sergio Pérez beating Jenson Button for the first time in a practice session with the eleventh-fastest time. Button was one spot back and actually the fastest runner on medium tyres when the track was wet, but his eventual best time of 1.37.865 was over a second off the pace.
Nico Hülkenberg survived a spin as he entered the pits when the track became wet; he finished in thirteenth place, ahead of his team-mate Esteban Gutiérrez who also had an issue with his fire extinguisher going off in his car during the session as well as a broken exhaust. Jean-Eric Vergne was fifteenth-fastest for Toro Rosso as they continue to struggle for pace, Daniel Ricciardo in seventeenth only adds to their woes.
The woes also continue at Williams, with Pastor Maldonado setting the sixteenth-fastest time while Valtteri Bottas in nineteenth was slower than the impressive Marussia rookie Jules Bianchi.
Caterham duo Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde both suffered off track moments during the rain and ended the session separated by only one hundredth of a second neat the bottom of the timesheets. Max Chilton once again rounded up the field in last place, close to five seconds off the pace.
With drivers getting a taste of a wet Sepang ahead of more predicted wet weather this weekend, it’ll be interesting to see who can come out on top as we head into qualifying tomorrow.
2013 Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:36.569||28|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:36.588||+ 0.019||27|
|3.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:36.661||+ 0.092||33|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:36.985||+ 0.416||23|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:37.026||+ 0.457||29|
|6.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:37.206||+ 0.637||26|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:37.448||+ 0.879||32|
|8.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:37.571||+ 1.002||30|
|9.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:37.574||+ 1.005||32|
|10.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:37.788||+ 1.219||10|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:37.838||+ 1.269||21|
|12.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:37.865||+ 1.296||29|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.068||+ 1.499||31|
|14.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.645||+ 2.076||23|
|15.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:38.738||+ 2.169||31|
|16.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:38.801||+ 2.232||27|
|17.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:38.904||+ 2.335||31|
|18.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:39.508||+ 2.939||30|
|19.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:39.660||+ 3.091||28|
|20.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:40.757||+ 4.188||29|
|21.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:40.768||+ 4.199||32|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:41.438||+ 4.869||33|