Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets for McLaren in both sessions of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix today after clocking a time nearly three-tenths of a second in advance of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
The German has proved himself to be a single-lap hotshot so far this season, putting his car on pole for both the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix. But a blast on low fuel helped Hamilton set the pace in the faster afternoon outing.
Looking best behind them were Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button, the two Mercedes GP drivers and Renault’s Robert Kubica following up his podium in Melbourne by knocking on the door of the major players again. Button was showing some discomfort with his car’s set-up.
Neither Ferrari driver appeared above seventh place in either session with Felipe Massa consistently behind Fernando Alonso.
But, since the pair currently occupy the two top spots in the drivers’ championship standings, and neither has particularly felt the need to showboat in practice so far this year with Ferrari preferring to keep its cards close to its chest on Fridays, it is unlikely to be much of an impediment to their race weekend.
Mark Webber suffered an engine problem in the second session that left his car parked in the gravel and which raised yet another question over his team’s reliability – an issue that is already blighting both drivers’ chances of scoring high. Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari also suffered reliability problems.
Williams also had a rough day of it, seemingly unable to find enough pace even to distinguish them from the new teams. On the other hand Lotus appears set for another successful weekend – particularly important for the team’s Malaysian owners and backers.
In the first session Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta replaced race driver Vitantonio Liuzzi to continue his campaign to familiarise himself with Formula One’s cars and circuits.
Sepang second practice times
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:34.175
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:34.441
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:34.443
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:34.538
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:34.674
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:35.148
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:35.581
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:35.660
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:35.872
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:35.957
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:36.018
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:36.221
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:36.325
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:36.325
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.602
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:36.813
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:37.415
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:38.454
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:38.530
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:38.786
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:39.061
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:39.158
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:41.084
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:41.481
Sepang first practice times
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:34.921
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:35.106
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:35.207
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:35.225
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:35.402
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:35.479
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:35.955
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:35.959
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:36.043
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:36.100
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.451
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:36.503
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:36.645
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:36.712
- Paul Di Resta, Force India: 1:36.891
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:36.899
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:37.802
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:38.278
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:39.460
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:39.755
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:40.159
- Fairuz Fauzy, Lotus: 1:40.721
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:41.832
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:41.966