After setting the fastest time in the opening practice session of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has again headed the timesheets in the day’s second session.

The heavy showers that many had expected to hit the circuit came and went, dumping some rain between the first and second practice sessions. By the time this session started at 2pm local time, the track was bone dry but its surface temperature was a tyre-blistering 51°C (124°F)!

P2 - Lewis Hamilton

Operating with a series of short runs throughout the 90-minute session, Hamilton matched his first practice session benchmark within 15 minutes of the second session starting, and was never headed.

Many drivers opted to do comparison runs on the prime and option Bridgtestone tyres, and were almost unanimous in their complaints about their cars’ balance on the softer tyres.

Sebastian Vettel went second-quickest to break the Mercedes-Benz-powered domination of the timesheets, registering a decent amount of laps after concerns were raised with his engine in the opening session.

The Red Bull reliability curse seemed to afflict Mark Webber this time around, with the Australian grinding to a halt after less than 30 minutes’ running with a suspected engine failure.

Despite their protests that they wouldn’t be on the pace this weekend, Mercedes GP ran 3rd (Rosberg) and 5th (Schumacher) on the timesheets, sandwiching the Mercedes-powered McLaren of Jenson Button.

Ferrari were – relative to their usual standards – buried in the timesheets by running heavy fuel loads, and only bolted on the option tyres in the final minutes of the session, which resulted in marginal improvements to the times of Fernando Alonso (7th) and Felipe Massa (15th).

Remember that the team ran with this strategy in Australia, and emerged with very quick cars by the time qualifying came around…

Plenty of cars took trips through the gravel traps as their drivers explored the limits of their chariots on the softer tyres. Adrian Sutil, Bruno Senna and Sébastien Buemi all took turns getting some kitty litter in their radiators.

Tomorrow is certainly going to look very interesting indeed…

2010 Malaysian GP Practice 2 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:34.175 27
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.266 28
3. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.268 30
4. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.363 24
5. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.499 30
6. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.973 34
7. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 1.406 34
8. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.485 39
9. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 1.697 20
10. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.782 32
11. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.843 38
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 2.046 34
13. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 2.150 33
14. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 2.150 39
15. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 2.427 30
16. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 2.638 26
17. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 3.240 19
18. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 4.279 34
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 4.355 32
20. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 4.558 13
21. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.886 23
22. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.983 29
23. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth + 6.909 27
24. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 7.306 32

[Original image via GP Update]

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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.