Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets for today’s practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but the local weather is already causing a storm. After FP2 was disrupted by heavy rain, there are fears that the local thunderstorms may hit the circuit during tomorrow’s qualifying and the race.
Regardless, the field is tightly bunched at the front at the moment. Here’s what happened today:
It was another slow start to this weekend’s racing, as it took until the half hour mark for anyone to set a lap time.
Australian GP race winner Kimi Raikkonen had a delayed start to his weekend – a KERS fault meant that he was stuck in the pits longer than anyone else. He eventually finished the session 0.06 seconds off the leader.
The Red Bulls continued to demonstrate their excellent one-lap pace, with both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel leading FP1 at certain points. It was Webber who was to set the fastest time, a 1:36.935 leaving him over a tenth of a second ahead of his teammate.
Lap times dropped off towards the end of the session, as it became clear that the hard tyres were only lasting around 20 laps.
The only major drama was when Esteban Gutierrez spun off, carrying too much speed into Turn 14.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:36.935 15
2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:37.003 + 0.068s 15
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:37.104 + 0.169s 21
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.319 + 0.384s 13
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.588 + 0.653s 19
6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.769 + 0.834s 17
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.771 + 0.836s 15
8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.773 + 0.838s 15
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.840 + 0.905s 18
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.915 + 0.980s 17
11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.173 + 1.238s 16
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.673 + 1.738s 16
13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.830 + 1.895s 17
14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.054 + 2.119s 17
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.204 + 2.269s 16
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.208 + 2.273s 19
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.284 + 2.349s 17
18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.567 + 2.632s 16
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.728 + 3.793s 17
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:40.996 + 4.061s 14
21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:41.163 + 4.228s 18
22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.513 + 4.578s 14
It was Raikkonen who set the fastest time in FP2 on the medium tyres, but by only 0.4 seconds compared to Webber’s time in FP1.
Rain was expected from the off, so many drivers took to the track immediately in order to maximise running. As expected, the rain fell early on, and it increased in strength at around the halfway mark. A spin by Nico Hulkenberg on his in lap demonstrated how treacherous the conditions were.
Drivers soon tip-toed out onto the track soon after, but spins marred several drivers’ sessions. Sergio Perez, Giedo van der Garde and Romain Grosjean all had off-track excursions on the intermediate tyres.
The track dried out sufficiently for slicks with 10 minutes to go, but nobody was able to improve on Raikkonen’s earlier time. Sebastian Vettel was within 0.016 seconds of the Lotus, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso 3rd and 4th.
The McLarens showed no signs of improvement from Australia, finishing Friday 11th and 12th. Further back, Jules Bianchi was able to set a lap 0.152 seconds faster than the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:36.569 28
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:36.588 + 0.019s 27
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.661 + 0.092s 33
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.985 + 0.416s 23
5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.026 + 0.457s 29
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1:37.206 + 0.637s 26
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.448 + 0.879s 32
8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.571 + 1.002s 30
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.574 + 1.005s 32
10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.788 + 1.219s 10
11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.838 + 1.269s 21
12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.865 + 1.296s 29
13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.068 + 1.499s 31
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.645 + 2.076s 23
15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.738 + 2.169s 31
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.801 + 2.232s 27
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.904 + 2.335s 31
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.508 + 2.939s 30
19. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.660 + 3.091s 28
20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:40.757 + 4.188s 29
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.768 + 4.199s 32
22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.438 + 4.869s 23