Mercedes again lead the way in Malaysia during FP2 for Sunday’s Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Lewis Hamilton in 4th.
Though the afternoon remained dry in defiance of forecast thunderstorms, it was no easier for Lotus who are drawing headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2014; Pastor Maldonado sat out the session while Romain Grosjean completed fourteen laps all more than two seconds off the pace before breaking down and facing a scooter ride back to the garage yet again.
Kevin Magnussen also had problems, the young Dane being hit with setup issues that meant he lost time while his mechanics adjusted brake settings. McLaren slipped further off the pace as the day wore on, with much of their FP2 preparation being focused on Sunday’s race.
When the teams moved on to race simulation and long fuel runs it was Mercedes who led the way with ease, prompting fears the early part of the season could prove every bit as predictable as the end of 2013; albeit with a different winner to Sebastian Vettel. The reigning World Champion and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had a more productive afternoon with the RB10 performing excellently in qualifying trim on the softer, white-walled Pirelli compound.
All drivers experienced trouble with keeping their tyres in shape past the ten lap mark, with the Sepang circuit proving exceptionally dusty and dirty following a recent MotoGP test at the track.
CLASSIFICATION – FP2 – 2014 Malaysian GP