Malaysian GP Practice 2: Webber still on top, but barely
Mark Webber remained fastest in the second practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix but not by the landslide we saw in Practice 1. In fact the McLaren's looked every bit as fast. The Red Bulls finished 1st and 4th with the two McLaren's 2nd and 3rd.
The top four drivers were covered by less than 0.250s, as Webber's 1m36.876s - on Pirelli's Option - proved to be the quickest lap of the day.
Michael Schumacher was fifth fastest for Mercedes ahead of Felipe Massa's Ferrari.
The Renault cars did not immediately run in Friday afternoon practice while the team investigated the technical failures of the initial session at Sepang.
Team boss Eric Boullier confirmed at the Malaysian circuit that neither Nick Heidfeld or Vitaly Petrov would return to their R31s until the problem is understood and rectified.
"Best to be on the safe side," the team said on its official Twitter.
Heidfeld had returned to the pits in the first session with a blocked wheel, before Petrov spun into the gravel after a catastrophic failure on his left corner.
It was initially believed the problem was related to brakes, but the later theory was that the fault was in the suspension upright.
Half-way into the second session, it is believed the problem has been found and the cars will return to the track shortly.
Meanwhile, Boullier confirmed that German Heidfeld sat out some pre-weekend events this week with a throat infection.
"It's not serious," he told Bernama news agency. "He wanted to rest and be ready for free practice."
Pastor Maldonado expressed his gratitude to Williams, whose mechanics were forced to work quickly after the Venezuelan crashed in Sepang’s second practice session on Friday afternoon. Constantly losing grip after a long run on Pirelli’s Soft tire compound, the GP2 Champion eventually lost control exiting the last corner.
“I think today went well,” he reported after the session. “The car is looking competitive and I have a good feeling. There is some margin for improvement, from myself and the car, but it is looking positive for us tomorrow.
“The spin happened because I had little rubber left on my tires, so I was slipping around a lot as I was making my way into the pit lane. I spun and ended up in the gravel. Fortunately, even with the damage, the mechanics managed to turn the repairs around quickly and send me back out for the last part of the session, so I thank them for that.”
||Paul di Resta