Malaysian Grand Prix 2012: Lewis Hamilton sets practice pace
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is quickest in both practice sessions for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton’s blistering pace saw him clock times 0.4 seconds faster than anyone else could manage in either session at the Sepang International Circuit.
“It was a good day for me, I was quite happy with the balance of the car, I’ve made some changes since the last race but obviously it can always be better,” he said.
In the first session, Hamilton led from Vettel, Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Schumacher, with Romain Grosjean continuing to show pace in the Lotus.
McLaren and Mercedes appear to be the teams to beat this weekend, with their four drivers top of the second session.
Jenson Button – winner of last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix – was third ahead of Nico Rosberg.
Vettel slumped to 10th in the second session and is unhappy with the balance of the car. He said: “I’m not entirely happy.
“I would love to be higher up but all in all we had decent running . There is still a lot to do. It’s not as though we expected all our problems to be solved in three hours.
“We are sliding a bit too much and I would love the car to be more predictable and stable in the beginning.
Ferrari again struggled in the first session, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso 13th and 15th.
But Alonso recovered in the second to claim sixth, managing a lap over a second quicker than in the morning session.
The midfield again looks congested, with Toro Rosso, Force India and Williams trading similar times.
Sauber’s Sergio Perez struggled in both sessions after scoring points last weekend – the Mexican could only manage a best place of 18th.
At the rear of the grid, both HRT cars again look set to struggle to make the 107 per cent rule – Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa were at least 5.5 seconds behind Hamilton’s pace, and nearly a second behind the man in 22nd, Marussia’s Charles Pic.
Malaysian Grand Prix 2012: Practice times
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:38.172 28 laps
2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.533 0.361 34 laps
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.535 0.363 30 laps
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.696 0.524 34 laps
5 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:38.853 0.681 33 laps
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.891 0.719 27 laps
7 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:39.133 0.961 29 laps
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:39.297 1.125 33 laps
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:39.311 1.139 22 laps
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:39.402 1.230 25 laps
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:39.444 1.272 35 laps
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:39.464 1.292 26 laps
13 Paul di Resta Force India 1:39.625 1.453 20 laps
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:39.687 1.515 16 laps
15 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:39.696 1.524 29 laps
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:40.271 2.099 28 laps
17 Bruno Senna Williams 1:40.678 2.506 34 laps
18 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:40.947 2.775 33 laps
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:41.464 3.292 25 laps
20 Timo Glock Marussia 1:41.681 3.509 20 laps
21 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:42.594 4.422 18 laps
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:42.874 4.702 24 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:43.658 5.486 18 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:43.823 5.651 22 laps