Malaysian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
Nico Rosberg was fastest during the hot afternoon Free Practice 2 session in his Mercedes. But it was not a case of Mercedes domination as he was only 0.035 of a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari and 0.061 faster than Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull Renault.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Centigrade.) There was a 40 percent chance of rain.
Romain Grosjean got things rolling with his Lotus. Would it last a lap without breaking down? It did. He continued on for a second lap. He set a time of 1:44.005 on lap three, his first flying lap.
Max Chilton had an early spin in his Marussia and stopped at Turn 3.
Grosjean continued to lap.
7 minutes into the session, Jenson Button moved ahead with a time of 1:42.445 in his McLaren only to have Nico Hulkenberg top that with a 1:42.293 in his Force India.
10 minutes into the session, Jean-Eric Vergne was on a fast lap when he spun his Toro Rosso at Turn 15 and continued.
11 minutes into the session, Button bounced back with a 1:41.635, but then Valtteri Bottas (Williams) beat that with a 1:41.072.
Grosjean continued to lap as Felipe Massa (Williams) posted a 1:41.075 to move into second place.
14 minutes into the session, Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo took to the track for the first time as Nico Hulkenberg went off track in his Force India.
Grosjean continued to lap. He had completed nine laps when the team radioed him to pit and not change gear. His car was stuck in second gear.
17 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso moved his Ferrari into the top spot with a 1:40.737. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was in second place with a time of 1:40.785.
23 minutes into the session, Vettel turned a 1:41.041 to claim third place. The rear wing of his Red Bull was covered in green Flo-viz paint as the team checked the aerodynamic airflow trends.
30 minutes into the session, the top six were: Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Massa and Ricciardo.
Up until now the drivers had been on Pirelli's hard compound slicks, but now some of them ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ including Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ were switching to the medium compound. He complained about a lot of oversteer and only set the 15th fastest time.
33 minutes into the session, Felipe Massa, with mediums fitted to his Williams, clocked a 1:40.112 to take first place. Moments later, Nico Rosberg, also on mediums, turned a 1:39.909 in his Mercedes while Magnussen moved up to fifth. Then Hamilton improved to a 1:40.051 on mediums.
39 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen split the two Mercedes, just as he had in FP1, with a time of 1:39.944 in his Ferrari.
Midway through FP2 the top six were: Rosberg, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and Vettel.
With 42 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel moved into third with a time of 1:39.970.
With 38 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean had not returned to the track after that initial run of nine laps. His Lotus teammate Pastor Maldonado had yet to turn any laps at all. Kamui Kobayashi was also stuck in the garage with a Caterham that had problems with its energy store unit.
After the runs on new medium tires and setting fast lap times, the drivers now began to do long runs on the medium and hard compound Pirellis. It got quite busy out on the track with 18 of the 22 cars out there with just under half an hour to go.
Rosberg was lapping in the 1:44 range compared to his fast lap of 1:39.909. The team was coaching him on fuel saving via the radio.
With 26 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean was back on track in his repaired Lotus but there was still no sign of Maldonado.
With 18 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean parked his car at Turn 4 as he radioed the team: "Lost gearbox, lost gearbox!"
With 15 minutes remaining in the session, all the drivers were in action expect Grosjean, Maldonado and Kobayashi.
The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Rosberg, Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Ricciardo, Button, Bottas and Hulkenberg.