• Malaysian GP - FP2

Rosberg fastest ahead of qualifying

Laurence Edmondson at Sepang
March 28, 2015
© Sutton Images

Nico Rosberg set the pace in the final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, although Mercedes' stranglehold on the top of the timesheets appeared to loosen ever so slightly as six cars managed to lap within a second of the W06 Hybrid.

However, it should be noted that Rosberg's lap was hampered by Felipe Nasr's Sauber in the first corner, and so he may have been able to extend his lead further with a clean lap. What's more, Mercedes have a history of turning up the power and dramatically lowering its lap times when it comes to the business end of qualifying. Lewis Hamilton was 0.184s off his Mercedes team-mate as his slightly frustrating weekend with limited set-up time continued and he completed just 10 laps over the hour.

Once again, Kimi Raikkonen was the best of the rest behind Mercedes and was 0.555s off Rosberg. The Ferrari was quickest in the first sector, but lost 0.7s in the middle sector, suggesting Mercedes is running more downforce in the confidence it will be able to build a decent lead in the race without worrying about its straight-line speed deficit. Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest as Ferrari appears to have a slight edge over Williams, with a margin of 0.1 to 0.2 seconds.

Daniel Ricciardo was seventh ahead of the two Toro Rossos, which again sneaked into the top ten with Carlos Sainz nearly 0.3s quicker than his team-mate Max Verstappen. Marcus Ericsson continued a strong weekend by setting the tenth fastest time ahead of the two Lotuses and the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.

Fernando Alonso's return to the cockpit continued to show signs of progress for McLaren as he managed to split the two Force Indias - a small but not insignificant improvement on the opening race. Felipe Nasr was 17th fastest after running wide on his hot lap, while Jenson Button was 18th and 0.3s off team-mate Alonso after an overnight engine change.

The two Manors were again at the foot of the timesheets, but this time outside 107% of the fastest time. If the Manors are not able to set a time within 107% of the best Q1 time, their participation in Sunday's race will be left to the discretion of the stewards.

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