Kimi Raikkonen built on his solid FP1 performance with fastest time in the second Free Practice session at the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur, shading rivals Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa by just under a tenth of a second.
The Finn was unaffected by a short rain shower that doused the circuit about an hour into the session, returning to the track in the dying minutes when the track had dried.
Fernando Alonso was some 0.3 off team-mate Massa in the afternoon, with FP1 pace-setter Mark Webber chasing the two Ferrari’s hard in 5th. Romain Grosjean was 6th but remained 0.7 off his faster and more experienced Lotus team-mate. Nico Rosberg again had 0.2 in hand over Lewis Hamilton, with Paul Di Resta splitting the two Mercs for 8th. Adrian Sutil was forced to sit out the second half of the session after a mechanical failure saw his car confined to the garage, but it didn’t prevent the German returnee from setting 10th quickest time.
Sergio Perez headed team-mate Jenson Button for McLaren in 11th and 12th, and further encouragement came to the Woking team as Button was easily the fastest driver in the wet conditions running on the intermediate tyres. He reported the ride ‘felt better’ and such words were echoed by test driver Gary Paffett who believes it is only a matter of time before the squad are back near the top of the field.
The Saubers were 13th and 14th despite a spin from Nico Hulkenberg in the pitlane entrance; Esteban Gutierrez didn’t have a trouble-free session either as his cockpit fire extinguisher was ignited while he was out on track. Jean Eric Vergne edged out Pastor Maldonado and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for 15th, but the real surprise was Jules Bianchi who continued to impress by going faster than Williams’ young hopeful Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish rookie still failing to make an impression.
FP3 is at 05:00 GMT on Saturday morning.
|2||Sebastian VETTEL||Red Bull||1:36:588|
|5||Mark WEBBER||Red Bull||1:37:026|
|8||Paul DI RESTA||Force India||1:37:571|
|10||Adrian SUTIL||Force India||1:37:788|
|15||Jean Eric VERGNE||Toro Rosso||1:38:738|
|17||Daniel RICCIARDO||Toro Rosso||1:38:904|
|21||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||Caterham||1:40:768|