Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015

Hamilton quickest at sweltering Sepang

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix second practice

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015Lewis Hamilton overcame a series of problems to lead the second practice session at a searingly hot Sepang International Circuit.

Hamilton’s car was still being worked on as the session began following the power unit glitch which halted him in first practice. The team said the problem will not compromise his allocation of four engines for the season.

Further telemetry problems hampered his progress once he joined the track. However a late performance run on the medium tyres was enough to put him on top of the times by three-tenths of a second.

Team mate Nico Rosberg made a mistake on his medium-tyre run, and with track temperatures pushing 60C found he could not find time on his second attempt.

Both the Ferrari drivers also had compromised performance runs. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were among the first to take to the track on the softer tyres, but had to return to the pits when the session was red-flagged.

The red flags came out after Roberto Merhi pirouetted his Manor into a gravel trap at turn 11 having covered just half-a-dozen laps. Once the session resumed Vettel had a similar spin, but avoided getting stuck in the gravel and was able to continue.

Daniil Kvyat was fourth-fastest for Red Bull but headed for the pits in the final minutes after reporting a problem with his engine. His team mate also suffered cars problems and only covered a handful of laps.

The Lotus drivers had problems too. Pastor Maldonado’s car shed part of its left sidepod early in the session, while Romain Grosjean reported a loss of power on his car and after turning into the garage never emerged again.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.79016
27Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.1630.37329
36Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.2180.42826
426Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’40.3460.55617
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’40.4500.66031
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’40.5600.77027
75Sebastian VettelFerrari1’40.6520.86229
833Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’41.2201.43030
99Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’41.2611.47130
103Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’41.7992.0098
1113Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’41.8772.08715
1212Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’41.9882.19830
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’42.2422.45224
1455Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’42.2912.50131
1527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’42.3302.54028
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’42.5062.71625
1722Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’42.6372.84724
188Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’42.9483.1587
1928Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’45.7045.91412
2098Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’47.2297.4396

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Hamilton quickest at sweltering Sepang”

  1. Good running by Mclaren. They look better than last week already. They should be pleased…well, relatively anyway.

    Hope for better tomorrow.

    1. but they were still at least 2 secs behind T^T

      1. …the Force India in race trim, five seconds behind Mercedes.

      2. They were but they won’t be risking anything at the moment – just trying to put laps in and not break down.

        If they went at full speed, they’d be much closer but they’d have probably only managed a handful of laps!

  2. I’m glad a recorded that session. It was super exciting and I’ll get to watch it again later.

    This race is shaping up to be one for the ages.

  3. I am surprised on the seemingly high number of engine related issues we are seeing this year. Last year we see the introduction and everybody was concerned over reliability but it is the sophomore year that seems to be suffering from it…
    Could it be that last year they were somewhat conservative (much like Honda is being this year) and now they tried, or are trying to, to push the limits?

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      27th March 2015, 8:28

      ‘sophomore year’ – Good to see that F1 has some USA fans

      1. @coldfly, I am not in the US neither am I north-american :-D
        I am Portuguese living currently in The Netherlands.

        However I do read a lot of Wikipedia articles and the adjective sophomore is used many times and the adjective does mean “being or associated with the second in a series”. Since we are in the second year of this series of engine rules, I thought it was correct to use it ;)

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          27th March 2015, 9:35

          desculpe meu amigo, sophomore is een typisch Amerikaanse uitdrukking. é por isso que pensei que você era americano.

          1. I like!

          2. @coldfly
            Nice! As someone who used to spend loads of time in Brazil, I miss a little Portuguese thrown in to my day…well, I miss the beautiful women who were speaking it! :)

  4. The McLaren looks horrible! Not only are they way off the pace, but the car looks a handful in both corner entry and corner exit. Alonso locked-up badly a gazillion times and the rear didn’t look too planted on the exit either. Not looking good for McHonda.

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      27th March 2015, 8:17

      I wonder how much of Alonso locking up etc was pushing to struggle ahead of Jenson? There is only a tenth between them.

      1. I wonder how much further he would be if he wasn’t locking up :)

      2. Well, he did have to give up a steering rack that was specifically designed for his driving style, because the team weren’t sure if that was the part that contributed to his testing crash. He’s probably still struggling to get the car to do want he wants it to do.

    2. Maybe he was just checking the steering… :P

    3. Hm, i heard Herbert mentioning on Sky that actually the McLaren seems to be a pretty decent chassis, just they are not running the engine very smoothly so far

      1. And McNish said he thinks that can’t be for certain until the car is able to run at full power. Because it’s only then will they know if it would be able to take the necessary loads.

        So it’s all assumptions. It only looks good because it’s so slow

    4. I was at the circuit today and the McLaren sounds horrible under braking and downshifting.

      1. @sato113 – thanks for the info. I hope it’s a good race. It’s going to be a water-proofs and water-bottle day tomorrow.

        1. Covered grandstand ;)

  5. what tyres were the runs done on? i read raikonnens was at the end of a long run?

  6. well it was last year’s FP2 when RAI was again second and looked again promising +0.035 from Rosberg’s time on a 1.39.944. So Mercedes are definitely saving their engines. Expect tomorrow -if it stays dry- a +1 sec. gap.

    1. We saw what Hamilton could do with only a handfull of laps and not having had time to do much setup on the car either (and complaining about the shift) @mrflatout87, so yeah, I think they have quite a bit more in their cars.

      Non the less, its good to see Kimi keeping a good pace.

      1. Ferrari had far from a perfect sessions as well so it’s not like they don’t have anything more to show…

  7. At least we have one Manor within 107% of the fastest time, which is good to see. Might be enough to see Stevens through to the race.

    1. I was not expecting that. Impressive if your ‘shakedown’ is within 107% of Hamiltons time!

  8. Just looked at the long-runs from FP2. Ferrari are clearly “best of the rest”, but still about 0.5 sec behind Mercedes.
    Williams seems to be struggling with tyre deg. They are a long way behind Ferrari on race pace.
    RB have improved a lot since Australia. If they sort out their reliability issues, they could have a good weekend.
    Lotus seem to be the best of the midfield-runners. Solid race pace from Maldonado (though he completed only 6 laps on his “long-run”, so we have to wait and see). They should be ahead of Toro Rosso and Sauber.
    It will be almost impossible for McLaren to score points this weekend. They are battling Force India for P8, just Manor are slower.
    Manor really surprised me. Stevens was already inside the 107% and if Mehri finds a bit more speed, we could have 20 cars on the grid on Sunday!

    1. Ferrari the only team close to the pace of Mercedes. The next car is ages behind. I only hope Kimi and Seb don’t screw their qualifying and end up behind Williams.

      Massive potential for big points in this race if there are no reliability issues. We might as well see how Mercedes respond if Ferrari are too close for comfort.

      1. Please remember that Ferrari always run less fuel than the Mercs during race stints, so those times aren’t truly representative of how close they are to the Mercs.

    2. @srga91
      May I ask where you got long runs data from? Would be much appreciated =)

      1. @njoydesign You can see them here. Times from all sessions will be loaded.

          1. Thank you @evered7 !

  9. When was the last time the gap between the quickest and 2nd quickest drivers in the first two practice sessions of a race weekend was identical? Raikkonen was 0.373s behind Rosberg in Prac 1 and 0.373s behind Hamilton in Prac 2. One for the stats junkies!

  10. Interestingly, for all the engine problems Mclaren-Honda have had, it was actually the chassi itself that looked like trouble. The car was understeering all over the place.

  11. Does anyone know where or can point me to the traps speeds from each practice / qualifying sessions?

    TIA

  12. I thought that I had read, recovery vehicles which came onto the track, were having bars on the sides, so no cars could go underneath as last season…In FP2 although there was a red flag, there was still one in the gravel trap to recover a car, while other cars were still going round back to the pits….we just need a damp track and…..
    Not an expensive modification surely???

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