Lewis Hamilton has bounced back from his technical dramas in the opening practice to end Friday’s running of the Malaysian Grand Prix on top of the timesheets in the afternoon practice session.
The Englishman finished ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, who split Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg on the stopwatch.
With his mechanics having identified his FP1 stoppage being due to a failure on his Mercedes power unit inlet system, they set about quickly turning his F1W06 around so he could get back out on track.
Incredibly, he was exiting the pit lane halfway through the 90-minute session, and hurriedly set about completing a condensed programme of running on the Pirelli Hard and Medium tyre compounds. Running the Medium tyres later than many of his rivals, Hamilton clocked a 1:39.790 to snatch top spot from Räikkönen by 0.373 seconds.
Daniil Kvyat took his Red Bull Racing RB11 to the fourth-fastest time, finishing just ahead of the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who were split by one-tenth of a second in their FW37s.
Sebastian Vettel was seventh-fastest in the second Ferrari, although he failed to find a clear lap when running on the Medium tyres. His first flying lap was ruined by Roberto Merhi spinning his Manor Marussia off at Turn 11 and causing a red flag, before he too lost control at the same corner at his next attempt.
The top-ten was completed by Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, who finished up just ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo – the Australian having been delayed by unspecified technical issues.
Pastor Maldonado survived a disruption caused by a piece of his Lotus’ bodywork parting company to finish just outside the top-ten; Felipe Nasr took over from reserve driver Raffaele Marciello to finish twelfth-fastest.
The Force India duo of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg sandwiched Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr., who finished well down the order after his FP1 heroics. The Spaniard was a second off his teammate Verstappen’s pace.
McLaren’s pairing of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button clocked up almost 50 laps at the wheel of their MP4-30, but were over three seconds off the ultimate pace Hamilton had set.
Romain Grosjean finished further adrift in the second Lotus, suffering a loss of power after just seven laps’ running which brought his session to a close.
The two Manor Marussias brought up the rear and were further adrift of the slow McLarens. Will Stevens lapped within six seconds of Hamilton’s best lap, while Merhi was a further 1.4 seconds adrift, losing an hour of his session with his error. Importantly, Stevens’ best lap was within 107% of the fastest time of the session, meaning the Englishman would theoretically be given dispensation to start the race should he fail to post a competitive enough qualifying time on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s final practice session at the Sepang International Circuit begins at 14:00 local time (GMT +8).
|2015 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:39.790||16|
|2.||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:40.163||+ 0.373||29|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:40.218||+ 0.428||26|
|4.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:40.346||+ 0.556||17|
|5.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:40.450||+ 0.660||31|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:40.560||+ 0.770||27|
|7.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:40.652||+ 0.862||29|
|8.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:41.220||+ 1.430||30|
|9.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:41.261||+ 1.471||30|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:41.799||+ 2.009||8|
|11.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes Ere Hybrid||1:41.877||+ 2.087||15|
|12.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:41.988||+ 2.198||30|
|13.||Sergio Perez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:42.242||+ 2.452||24|
|14.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:42.291||+ 2.501||31|
|15.||Nico Hulkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:42.330||+ 2.540||28|
|16.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:42.506||+ 2.716||25|
|17.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:42.637||+ 2.847||24|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes Ere Hybrid||1:42.948||+ 3.158||7|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:45.704||+ 5.914||12|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:47.229||+ 7.439||6|
Image via XPB Images