Romain Grosjean, Haas, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Second practice abandoned after drain causes Grosjean crash

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix second practice

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Sebastian Vettel was emphatically fastest in second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix but the main talking point was a crash which brought the session to an end.

Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Sepang International Circuit, 2017
Malaysian Grand Prix practice in pictures
There was 20 minutes left to run when Romain Grosjean struck a drain cover at turn 12 which appeared to have been raised by a previous car. The impact tore Grosjean’s right-rear tyre apart and sent him spinning into the barrier.

Practice was immediately red-flagged while race director Charlie Whiting attended the scene to investigate the cause of the crash. The session was not restarted.

The Ferrari pair finished the session in first and second places with Vettel over six-tenths of a second clear of Kimi Raikkonen. The Mercedes drivers struggled and both ended up 1.4 seconds off the pace, the pair complaining of a general lack of grip and both going off the track at points.

They were outpaced by the two Red Bull drivers, who set similar times to within a hundredth of a second after Max Verstappen did an extra run on a used set of super-soft tyres.

Fernando Alonso raised eyebrows by also beating the Mercedes pair in his McLaren. The two Force Indias and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault completed the top ten.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’31.261 23
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’31.865 0.604 19
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’32.099 0.838 19
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’32.109 0.848 11
5 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’32.564 1.303 14
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’32.677 1.416 15
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’32.720 1.459 21
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’32.862 1.601 20
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’33.060 1.799 24
10 31 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’33.096 1.835 24
11 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’33.381 2.120 26
12 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’33.394 2.133 20
13 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’33.673 2.412 15
14 18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’33.818 2.557 16
15 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Renault 1’34.043 2.782 22
16 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’34.104 2.843 19
17 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’34.118 2.857 18
18 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’34.343 3.082 17
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.246 3.985 29
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.697 4.436 27

Second practice visual gaps

Sebastian Vettel – 1’31.261

+0.604 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’31.865

+0.838 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’32.099

+0.848 Max Verstappen – 1’32.109

+1.303 Fernando Alonso – 1’32.564

+1.416 Lewis Hamilton – 1’32.677

+1.459 Valtteri Bottas – 1’32.720

+1.601 Sergio Perez – 1’32.862

+1.799 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’33.060

+1.835 Esteban Ocon – 1’33.096

+2.120 Jolyon Palmer – 1’33.381

+2.133 Felipe Massa – 1’33.394

+2.412 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’33.673

+2.557 Lance Stroll – 1’33.818

+2.782 Pierre Gasly – 1’34.043

+2.843 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.104

+2.857 Romain Grosjean – 1’34.118

+3.082 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.343

+3.985 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’35.246

+4.436 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.697

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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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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25 comments on “Second practice abandoned after drain causes Grosjean crash”

  1. That was a very worrying incident. Really hope that they can fix that. Also, holy wow Alonso, and Mercedes looking surprisingly poor.

  2. Mercedes looking just as poor as this championship needs them to. Here’s hoping Ferrari can maintain the advantage going into qualifying tomorrow. We know Mercedes can advance up the field during qualifying, no doubt.

    1. Also, if “general lack of grip” puts them P6 and P7, imagine how bad the Haas or Sauber cars feel to drive!

  3. Here’s hoping Red Bull can stay ahead of Mercedes and keep this championship interesting

  4. So if McLaren is this fast on a track like Sepang, is it still a problem of the engine and engine performance alone?

    1. its still a very strong aero track, see Red bulls last year too.

    2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the others aren’t yet to show their true pace.

      1. True, Hamilton seemed to find extra in Singapore.

  5. I mean,how difficult is to fix all drain covers…I can get it a bit in a street circuit(like Monaco last year) but its F1 in the end!!Those things should have been done pretty fast & without any problem.Its pretty unacceptable IMO

    1. This seems a bit of an odd one. On a street circuit the drain and manhole covers are normally welded shut so that the ‘sticky’ tyres can’t lift them up. But this is a permanent circuit and the track was wet (as I understand) so I think there may have been another kind of failure.

  6. So, where are the guys that said that the championship is over? :P

    1. @yllib Probably hanging out at the same place as those who predict the outcome of a race or championship from Friday practice results.

      1. @psynrg. I didnt make any prediction, however there is no denying that ferrari peace looks strong. Even Horner admited that they were expecting Merc to lead and Red Bull to be closer to Ferrari

    2. Some of us are still here, hating ourselves for still giving a damn -_-
      Although, to be fair (to myself), this weekend and the next are probably gonna be fairly exciting.

    3. @yllib

      tomorrow is not over yet :) i wonder where will you be after tomorrow? :)

  7. Here there is the video of the incident:

    1. there’s no video..

    2. Wow that shocking, scary stuff indeed.

  8. now I see why Toro gave Sainz to Renault ;)

    1. strong debut for gasly.. and a wake up call for carlos.

    2. Yeah, that’s pretty exciting!

  9. I’ve got the terrible feeling that Alonso and McLaren misjudged terribly again their engine choice and abandoned Honda just minutes before they would pull their act together. I’ve been repeating this for months now, where besides unreliability and bad performance, sparks of progress were hidden here ans there. I don’t know. I don’t even know what to hope for.

    1. Next year’s Renault engine will be very different, with all the insider info they are about to get!

  10. Seems like Mercedes still got complacent with their points lead and let their guard down, despite saying they won’t change their approach.

    1. They didn’t

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