Malaysian GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

Crasher faster

Sebastian Vettel, Malaysian GP 2017

Sebastian Vettel, Malaysian GP 2017 

 © RV Press

 

By Dan Knutson in Sepang

Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole for the Singapore Grand Prix but crashed out of the race just after the start. The Ferrari driver was again fastest on the opening day for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were off the pace in Free Practice 2 and wound up sixth and seventh.

The session ended early after Romain Grosjean crashed his Haas after hitting a loose drain cover.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Centigrade).

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes – Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault – Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Verstappen went quickest in the rain-hampered FP1. The track was dry for FP2 as the Sauber drivers tried practice starts at the end of pit lane and headed out on to the track.

Raikkonen got things rolling with a time of 1:33.486.

Pirelli's dry tire compounds for the weekend were: medium, soft and super soft. Most drivers used the soft including Verstappen who clocked a 1:32.739, and Vettel who did a lap record at 1:32.456.

Bottas had an off at Turn 11 and did a long trip through the grass to regain the track. Hamilton had an off and on as well.

The order after 30 minutes was Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Bottas, Ocon (all on the soft tires), Massa and Stroll (on the super softs) and Sainz on the soft compound.

Now several other drivers tried the super softs, like Ricciardo who recorded a 1:32.099. Next, it was Ferrari's turn, and Raikkonen got down to a 1:31.865 only to be beaten by Vettel's 1:31.261.

Bottas could only manage fifth best on his first super soft run.

Just past the midpoint of FP2 Hamilton headed out on the super softs. He displaced his teammate.

Now the top 10 had all lapped on the super soft tires, and the order was Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Alonso, Hamilton, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Ocon and Palmer.

Then Perez moved into eighth ahead of Hulkenberg.

That was the only change in the top 10 as the drivers used the latter part of the session for long runs to check tire wear.

The session was red flagged with 21 minutes remaining after Grosjean had a high-speed off and crashed into the barriers after his right rear tire came off the rim after he hit an upturned drain grate in a curb. He walked to the medical car to be driven back for checks. FP2 was not restarted.


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