• Malaysian GP - FP2

Hamilton tops FP2 despite niggling issues

ESPN Staff
March 27, 2015
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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second practice session despite car problems limiting his track time over the 90 minutes.

Hamilton set a 1:39.790 with 25 minutes remaining in the session, but his whole programme was set back as the team fixed a power unit inlet problem from the first session. The good news for Hamilton is that the issue will not affect his allocation of power units for the year, but just as he returned to the track 40 minutes into FP2 the team noticed a telemetry issue. Even on his return from his quick lap, Hamilton radioed to inform the team of "downgraded" gear shifts, suggesting there may well be more to come from the Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen set the second fastest time and was at the top of the timesheets for 20 minutes before Hamilton switched to the medium compound. The Ferrari driver was just over 0.05s quicker than Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes, but Rosberg seemed to struggle to get a clean lap as his medium tyre time from FP2 was slower than his best lap on the hards in FP1. Sebastian Vettel was 0.511s off his Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen but spun at Turn 11 on his first hot lap on the medium tyres. He lost the rear on entry in very similar fashion to Roberto Merhi a few moments earlier, but while Vettel was able to stop his slide before the gravel, the Manor ended up beached and brought the session to a halt while the car was cleared.

Daniil Kvyat was fourth fastest for Red Bull and only 0.556s off Hamilton - a big step up on his FP1 run. However, his car suffered a problem at the end of his final run and he was forced to return to the pits slowly for further investigations. Valtteri Bottas was sixth fastest and 0.660s off the pace, but Williams often runs heavier than its rivals in practice before turning up the wick in qualifying. He was 0.11s quicker than his team-mate Felipe Massa, who in turn was ahead of Vettel after the Ferrari driver's spin.

Max Verstappen, Marcus Ericsson and the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten, although Ricciardo was limited to just six laps. After a strong first practice session, Romain Grosjean was also had limited mileage in FP2 with just seven laps before the team called an end to his day in the garage.

McLaren's struggles continued and Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were left in 16th and 17th with times that were only quicker than Grosjean and the two Manors. Between the two cars, McLaren amassed 50 laps in 34C heat, which will provide useful data as it continues to learn about the new Honda engine.

Despite Merhi's spin, Manor will take some positives from Will Steven's lap, which was within 107% of the best time set by Hamilton. If he can recreate a similar standard in Q1, Stevens will guarantee Maurssia a place on the grid for the first time this year on Sunday.

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