Malaysian GP: Hamilton puts Mercedes on top again

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

After sitting out the morning track cleaning session due to an engine problem, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was fastest Friday in the second practice for Formula 1's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion only ran 5 laps when his Mercedes engine had a technical problem and his car ground to a halt on the circuit.

The Briton clocked the fastest lap of the day – a 1m39.790s on the medium Pirellis to finish 0.373 seconds clear of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Nico Rosberg led the way after the initial runs on the hard tires, but ended up third quickest, 0.428s behind teammate Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel lost the rear end of the Ferrari on the approach to Turn 11. He managed to keep the car out of the gravel but did not do another quick lap on the options, instead choosing to switch his attention to longer runs. He ended up seventh.


Mercedes GP

Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:39.790): "It was an amazing job by the guys to get me back out this afternoon – particularly here in such tough conditions, so I'm very grateful to them. It's not an easy track and the temperatures also make it difficult with the tires, so it never helps to lose such a big chunk of a session. But fortunately I got a few laps in at the end on a longer stint. In terms of setup I didn't have time to make any changes – I just went with what we brought over from the last race. It's probably quite a bit off where I'll eventually want it so there's definitely improvements to be made. We'll need to work hard too as Ferrari looked great out there. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow."

Nico Rosberg (3rd, 1:40.218): "I had a good morning session but I didn't get it right with the option tires in the afternoon, so I need to find out why that was. In general it was a difficult day for the team as we had reliability issues on Lewis' car and which meant he missed a session. The conditions are really crazy out there. It's so hot, the temperatures are really unbelievable. So us drivers and the cars have to adapt to that which is a big challenge. We also learned that Ferrari is strong again so it will be an interesting weekend."

Paddy Lowe: "Not an easy day. On Lewis' car we had a failure of the inlet system on the Power Unit. We also had a problem with the telemetry on his car that wasn't solved until just before the end of P2. This made managing the issue on his car doubly difficult – but the team did a fantastic job to repair the car. Nico had a less troublesome day – running through his program smoothly. We have a lot of work to do overnight to improve the setup of the cars and understand the issues we had and fix them for the race."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A mixed day for us. Nico had a difficult stint on the medium tires with a lack of grip and his longer run was tricky too. Lewis lost track time with the engine problem, so it's another reminder for us to keep our feet on the ground and keep working. In this business, winning and losing is decided by fine margins. The team and Lewis did a great job to recover, so we could collect some good data with both cars. Now we need to analyses the performance, ensure reliability and make good choices for tomorrow and Sunday."

Red Bull-Renault

Daniil Kvyat (4th, 1:40.346): "We had a few small issues at the end of the session, but nothing too big and it looks better for us here; we got some good laps today. We are looking to make some steps overnight and we will keep working. There is definitely potential and things are looking better compared to Melbourne, we just need to keep working hard. The time sheets look good, but it's Friday, so you can't read much into that and it's more important to see what happens tomorrow and Sunday. We will keep fighting!"

Daniel Ricciardo (10th, 1:41.799): "Some things are definitely positive and the bulk of the drivability issues we had in Melbourne are a lot better now. The car was a lot nicer to drive. We got to do a few set up things this morning then we had a few issues this afternoon which limited our running. But there are some positives and we got some good feedback from Dany; he wasn't too far off the pace of the Ferrari's so that's good and encouraging for tomorrow. We are finding improvements. If I see rain before qualifying tomorrow, I'll probably have a little smile!"


Valtteri Bottas (5th, 1:40.450): "The changes that we have made to my driving position have been positive and it was nice to be able to drive without any pain. I am confident for the rest of the weekend that I won't be troubled by my back. The track in the morning was really dirty with a lot of dust which will change throughout the weekend and the second session was very hot. The short runs were good but the car had some damage to a rear brake duct in the long runs so it is hard to give any accurate feedback."

Felipe Massa (6th, 1:40.560): "It has been quite a difficult day. The tires have suffered a lot in the conditions and the degradation is high, but it is the same for everyone. The aim is to close the gap to the people in front. There is time for this but we will study the data carefully to make sure we can get the best out of the car."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "It was a really busy day for us today with plenty of experiments with the chassis and the power unit. We have made good progress in these areas both on low and high fuel. We have plenty to look at to be prepared for tomorrow. The cooling is so important as the temperatures are very high, but we have done a great job on this so we feel prepared."


Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:40.163):

Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:40.652):


Fernando Alonso (16th, 1:42.506):

Jenson Button (17th, 1:42.637):

Eric Boullier, Racing Director:

Force India-Mercedes

Sergio Perez (13th, 1:42.242):

Nico Hulkenberg (15th, 1:42.330):

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal:

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer:

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:

Toro Rosso-Renault

Max Verstappen (8th, 1:41.220): "It was a good start to the weekend, as I used this morning's FP1 to learn the track and I took it easy, as this is my first time here racing at this circuit. It's not easy to manage the tires here because it's quite humid, but it was a clean first morning out on track. For this afternoon's FP2 we made some changes and I was happy with the balance of the car. There's still some room to improve, but the day went quite well overall."

Carlos Sainz (14th, 1:42.291): "I think it was a positive FP1 this morning. The car was well-balanced and quick straight away. During this afternoon's session we had a bit more of a problem, especially with traffic management, and when I went to do my Option run I wasn't able to put a lap together as I didn't find any clear space. But we've seen that with some clean running like the other car had, we managed to do a good lap time, so I'm calm and positive about where we are."

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer: "We've had a bit of a scrappy day today. We haven't really got the best out of the car, the drivers, the conditions and we haven't reacted particularly well to what's happened… So we know we've got a bit of work to do tonight and the positive note is that we can be better tomorrow. In terms of the two drivers, they had slightly mixed fortunes across the two sessions. If we look more at FP2, Carlos had a bit of a traffic issue on his first lap on the Option tires, so he hasn't been able to put together what we know he's capable of doing; regarding Max he managed to get his lap in, but the long run wasn't particularly great, so again we've got a bit of potential to improve things and be a little bit slicker on our side so that we can have a better day tomorrow. Obviously, the weather changes across the rest of the weekend now. We have lots of interesting weather forecasts, so the tricky bit now is to do all our homework to be ready to go out in the dry, but also to have a bit of a think about what we do in the wet conditions."


Pastor Maldonado (11th, 1:41.877): "The car feels quite a bit different with the tire allocation here and the different parts we've been trying and evaluating. Certainly, I felt happier in the afternoon and on the long run. We saw good pace from Romain in the morning and I was happy with the long run performance so we have some work ahead of us to piece the elements together to get the car where we want it for tomorrow."

Romain Grosjean (18th, 1:42.948): "It was quite a limited day for me in terms of running. We looked quick out of the box in the morning but the afternoon session was way too short because of an issue we're investigating. It's quite a different circuit here compared to Australia and the tires and weather conditions are not the same either so we have quite a bit of work to do in FP3 before we head into qualifying. It's been a frustrating day for me today, but I'm sure we'll bounce back tomorrow."

Nick Chester, Technical Director: "There are some strong positives from today despite a few glitches along the way. Romain was quick in the morning whilst Pastor had very consistent race pace in the afternoon. We're investigating the issue with Romain's car which looks to be a different issue from that experienced in Australia albeit with similar symptoms. Pastor's bodywork issue was quite a simple thing, even if it looked a little dramatic. We've plenty to do for tomorrow and good potential ahead."


Will Stevens (19th, 1:45.704): "It's really nice to be back in a Formula 1 car and to get down to the business of racing. The day ran very smoothly versus our planned program and I'm particularly pleased that my times in both sessions were inside the 107%. Considering how little running we have done, today is a really good step and my thanks to the team for a tremendous effort. We're not under any illusions about the challenges that lie ahead though and we have a busy night in front of us to work through the data to try to improve and set ourselves up for the best showing possible tomorrow."

Roberto Merhi (20th, 1:47.229): "It was good to get going for our first day of running the car and positive for the team to have a straightforward day. This morning we were able to get a decent run and therefore a feel for the balance and some direction as to where the car is. In FP2 we started to do some proper running but unfortunately I had a bit of a spin into Turn 12, which brought an end to my session. My apologies to the team for that as everything had been going well, but I'm looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow and picking up where we left off."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Obviously, we are thrilled to be back on track again, finally seeing all the hard work and determination paying off. I'm very satisfied with what we have achieved today. On what has essentially been a shakedown and practice day – which the other teams completed a couple of months ago – we've achieved 34 laps of reliable running and that is a really good effort when one considers the problems teams typically encounter on the opening day of running a car. We were also encouraged by our early pace in relation to the 107% rule and solid performances by both drivers on their first day in the car. Of course, there is a huge amount of work still to be done, both here in Malaysia and ahead into the season, but we'll take some reward from the day nonetheless. Most importantly, we are back doing what we do best – racing."


Marcus Ericsson (9th, 1:41.261): "In the morning we had a good start to the weekend. We had promising runs with consistent lap times, and we also did some set-up work which was satisfying. During the second free practice we continued to build on what we have learned in the morning, so it was another decent session. We were a bit unlucky when I went on track with the medium tires, because during my preparation lap the red flag came out. I had to box, so I lost the peak grip of this set of tires. Nevertheless, I think the performance was good and the long-runs were quite positive. I also feel comfortable in the car. The high temperatures will be a challenge for everyone on Sunday, which is going to be difficult with regard to tire management."

Felipe Nasr (12th, 1:41.988): "After missing out on the first free practice, I had to catch up quickly in the afternoon. As I know the track well, that was not an issue. It was not an ideal practice session as we were struggling with the rear tires due to the very high temperatures. This will give us plenty of work overnight. We need to understand how to handle this issue and put everything together for tomorrow."

Raffaele Marciello: "It was a good session for the team. For me it was a bit challenging, as I was driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time ever on a track I have not driven on before. However, I felt confident in the car quite quickly and was able to improve from run to run. I completed the planned program, so I think I did a good job. The temperatures were already high, so the grip level on track was low. Besides that, the circuit was a bit dirty, so the conditions were not the best, but this war the same was for everyone. Overall, it was good for me driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari in the first free practice."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "It's not easy to read anything into this day. First of all with these extreme temperatures it was difficult for the engineers and drivers to keep the tires alive, despite being the hardest compounds. This has an influence on the balance of the car. We have to analyses the data very carefully in order to understand everything. It will be important to have a good weather forecast. We expect the temperatures not to be as high as they were today. We will have a lot of work to do overnight in order to make the right changes. For the first time Raffaele was in the car in FP1. He had to get familiar with the Sauber C34 and to find performance at the same time, which is not easy, but he did a good job."


Pos Driver Car Time Behind Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.790s 0.000s 16
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.163s 0.373s 29
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.218s 0.428s 26
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m40.346s 0.556s 17
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m40.450s 0.660s 31
6 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m40.560s 0.770s 27
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m40.652s 0.862s 29
8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m41.220s 1.430s 30
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m41.261s 1.471s 30
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m41.799s 2.009s 8
11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m41.877s 2.087s 15
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m41.988s 2.198s 30
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m42.242s 2.452s 24
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m42.291s 2.501s 31
15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m42.330s 2.540s 28
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m42.506s 2.716s 25
17 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m42.637s 2.847s 24
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m42.948s 3.158s 7
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m45.704s 5.914s 12
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m47.229s 7.439s 6

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