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Malaysian GP Practice 2: Webber still on top, but barely
Mark Webber
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.”



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.876s +0.000s 24
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.881s +0.005 30
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.010s +0.134 23
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.090s +0.214 30
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.088s +1.212 26
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.089s +1.213 31
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.565s +1.689 25
8. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m38.570s +1.694 16
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.583s +1.707 27
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.846s +1.970 31
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m38.968s +2.092 25
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m39.187s +2.311 30
13. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m39.267s +2.391 17
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.398s +2.522 29
15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.603s +2.727 34
16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m39.625s +2.749 31
17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m39.809s +2.933 28
18. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.115s +3.239 31
19. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m40.866s +3.990 24
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m41.890s +5.014 19
21. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.197s +6.321 15
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m43.991s +7.115 14
23. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m44.886s +8.010 4

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