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2011 Malaysian Grand Prix (Rd 2, Free Practice 2, April 8th)

April 8, 2011

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Mark Webber was quickest again in Sepang following the second free practice, although the apparent advantage was cut down from the opening session.

After a – lap session, the Red Bull driver assumed the head of the time sheets with a best of 1:36.876 as he headed the McLaren pair of Jenson Button (2nd) and Lewis Hamilton (3rd).
Button was the busier of the two silver and red cars, having registered – laps in his MP4-26, following several short runs.
While the McLaren’s closed much of the gap to the top spot (Button was 0.005 slower than Webber and Hamilton one-tenth slower), it is still raises questions regarding fuel load differences.
Sebastian Vettel was next up on the time sheets. His quickest run was 0.214 shy of Webber, although the reigning Champion ran a number of longer stints, showing some decent high fuel pace.

A large gap followed to Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes – one second of a difference in fact. The veteran headed his younger teammate, Nico Rosberg (7th), although the Mercedes pair appeared to suffer some dramatic tyre drop-off, despite having cured some of their balance issues.
Splitting the pair was Ferrari’s Felipe Massa – his fastest lap of 1:38.089 was good enough for a top-six placing.

Both Renault’s eventually took to the circuit following a tough first session riddled with failures. Vitaly Petrov emerged after 45 minutes, with Nick Heidfeld taking to the circuit with a half-hour remaining.
Heidfeld would prove to be quickest of the pair. A fast lap of 1:38.570 placed the German veteran just behind Rosberg, while Petrov slotted in 13th, albeit 2.3 seconds down on Webber.
Williams’ Pastor Maldonado registered a quicker time than veteran teammate Rubens Barrichello, however the Venezuelan suffered a deal of embarrassment went he pitched his FW33 into the barrier’s entering the pitlane.

The session was rather better for those at the rear of the field, bar a few bumps in the road. Timo Glock (Virgin) jumped Jarno Trulli’s Lotus, with Glock getting to within four seconds of the leading Red Bull. Unfortunately, Glock’s teammate – Jerome d’Ambrosio lost the second session due to his first practice crash, whiel Heikki Kovalainen in the second Lotus only completed four laps.
Narain Karthikeyan also put in a relatively decent pace for the Hispania team, despite having little running in the morning, although Vitantonio Liuzzi lost a good deal of time following an electrical issue.

Pos  Driver               Team                     Time               Laps
 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault         1m36.876s            24
 2.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes         1m36.881s  + 0.005   30
 3.  Lewis Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes         1m37.010s  + 0.134   23
 4.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault         1m37.090s  + 0.214   30
 5.  Michael Schumacher   Mercedes                 1m38.088s  + 1.212   26
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                  1m38.089s  + 1.213   31
 7.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes                 1m38.565s  + 1.689   25
 8.  Nick Heidfeld        Renault                  1m38.570s  + 1.694   16
 9.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                  1m38.583s  + 1.707   27
10.  Jaime Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari       1m38.846s  + 1.970   31
11.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth        1m38.968s  + 2.092   25
12.  Rubens Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth        1m39.187s  + 2.311   30
13.  Vitaly Petrov        Renault                  1m39.267s  + 2.391   17
14.  Kamui Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari           1m39.398s  + 2.522   29
15.  Sergio Perez         Sauber-Ferrari           1m39.603s  + 2.727   34
16.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes     1m39.625s  + 2.749   31
17.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes     1m39.809s  + 2.933   28
18.  Sebastien Buemi      Toro Rosso-Ferrari       1m40.115s  + 3.239   31
19.  Timo Glock           Virgin-Cosworth          1m40.866s  + 3.990   24
20.  Jarno Trulli         Lotus-Renault            1m41.890s  + 5.014   19
21.  Narain Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth             1m43.197s  + 6.321   15
22.  Tonio Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth             1m43.991s  + 7.115   14
23.  Heikki Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault            1m44.886s  + 8.010    4

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