Sebastian Vettel was fastest in a dry second practice ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver was six-tenths faster than his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo third.
The session was brought to an end early after Haas’s Romain Grosjean spun off after hitting a drain cover at turn thirteen. That cut the Frenchman’s tyre which sent him spinning off and making a heavy impact with the tyre barrier and brought the red flag out for the remainder of the afternoon.
The Haas driver was unhurt after being sent on a high-speed collision. Grosjean told BBC News “I didn’t see anything and then suddenly I had a big hit on the right rear. I’m good and fine, that’s the main thing.”
Before Grosjean’s accident, Vettel had set a new lap record going fastest and that put him eight-tenths ahead of the Red Bull of Ricciardo in third. While Max Verstappen was fourth fastest, despite struggling for grip early on he made changes to his car to unlock that extra pace.
The red flag is likely to hinder everyone’s race preparations, as it cut off many of the teams long runs. But, the small picture we have got, suggests that Ferrari holds the slight edge over Mercedes this weekend.
Both Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled for grip, causing both of them to spin, Hamilton lost the rear at turn seven and Bottas ran wide at eleven, leaving them both one second and four tenths off the pace.
Bottas’s error was because he had taken the wrong line into the corner, while passing Felipe Massa around the outside and he went too far up the kerb losing the rear of the car, sending him into the gravel. While Hamilton clobbered turn seven sending him into a spin.
It was another good session for the McLaren of Fernando Alonso who finished fifth. Alonso put in a late flying lap on the supersofts, which put him ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez ad Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. While Esteban Ocon rounded off the top ten.
Jolyon Palmer was eleventh fastest, ahead of both of the Williams of Felipe Massa in twelfth and Lance Stroll in fourteenth. He pair were spilt by the by the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, and earlier the Brazilian has hit a bollard coming into the pits.
Pierre Gasly was fifteenth fastest, going almost a tenth faster than team-mate Carlos Sainz, who struggled with oversteer.
The Haas and Sauber drivers made up the bottom four, with Gorsjean’s mechanics facing a late night to put his car back together ahead of the final practice session on Saturday.