Lewis Hamilton was .2 of a second faster than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the second practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The world champion set his time in very hot conditions when many drivers suffered oversteer.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third fastest six tenths of the pace set by Hamilton with Kimi Raikkonen fourth. Hamilton will be hoping he can build on his good form after three wins for team-mate Rosberg put him back in the lead of the championship.
Hamilton also looked ok on both of the tyres, going third first of all on the hard tyres, then on soft tyres leaping Vettel to go top of the time sheets. But both Mercedes appear to have the edge over a single lap over the Ferrari’s.
Hamilton also appeared to be good on his long runs which should set him up well for the race on Sunday. Behind it appears that Ferrari have the egde over Red Bull this weekend.
Raikkonen was four tenths faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with Sergio Perez sixth. The pace of the Ferrari’s and Mercedes looks once again evenly matched but we have seen that in P2 this season, only for Mercedes to turn it up in P3, qualifying and the race.
Fernando Alonso, who was fifth in P1, dropped back to seventh but this still shows signs of improvement from Honda. The Spaniard already knows he will be starting from the back of the grid as a result of fitting his new engine.
However, the Spaniard is expected to revert to an old unit for the rest of the weekend in order to save up the new model for the Japanese GP, Honda’s home race, next week. For Jenson Button he worked his way from twenty to tenth in the last half hour.
Kevin Magnussen returned to the track after missing most of FP1 following his car catching fire during the early stages of Practice One. The Dane ended up 19th fastest, seven places and 0.7secs slower than team-mate Jolyon Palmer.