- Mar 22, 2014
Despite enduring technical difficulties throughout the day, Lewis Hamilton managed to bounce back and top the time sheet in Malaysia
A power unit issue that curtailed his Friday running was not enough to stop Lewis Hamilton from setting the pace in Sepang.
With a time of 1:39.730 in Free Practice 2, the 2014 race winner beat the second-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen by 0.373s.
SEE ALSO: Follow our live F1 status updates on Twitter! (or reach out via #RDF1)
After the smooth sailing enjoyed by Mercedes in Melbourne, Sepang saw a return to the reliability woes that intermittently plagued the team throughout the 2014 season. A loss of telemetry from his car to the pit wall was unable to be completely resolved throughout the day, and a problem with the inlet on his power unit quickly followed, limiting Hamilton to just four laps in the early session, and keeping him out of the first 40 minutes in FP2.
Even once he returned to the track, Hamilton was dissatisfied with the performance of the car, reporting "downgraded" gear shifts on team radio.
A switch to the medium tyre with about half an hour left in the session gave Hamilton the boost he needed, but it appears Mercedes has some work to do if it wants to ensure both cars make the podium on Sunday.
Meanwhile, his teammate Nico Rosberg enjoyed a relatively quiet day, leading the grid in FP1, before focusing on race simulations in the afternoon. His best time of the day was a 1:40.124 in the morning, 0.334s off Hamilton.
Amongst the rest of the grid, Ferrari was the class of the field throughout the day, showing some promising pace with Raikkonen that suggests the gap to the front may not be as great as it was in Melbourne.
P4 belonged to the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat with a 1:40.346, while Daniel Ricciardo was the victim of more reliability woes, managing only P10 while completing just 23 laps in total.
The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished P5 and 6, respectively, while Sebastian Vettel took seventh after a spin and a red flag prohibited him from setting a faster time.
P8 belonged to the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, while Sauber continued their surprising early-season form with a P9 for Marcus Ericsson.
Outside the top ten, perhaps the biggest notable was the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who managed to snag P4 in FP1, before a loss of power ended his FP2 prematurely.
In his return to the track after the events of Barcelona, Fernando Alonso managed only P16 in his McLaren, 2.716s down on first, teammate Jenson Button was P17.
The Manors of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi brought up the rear, and with a best of 1:45.704 from Stevens, it appears they will be perilously close to the 107% time needed to ensure they make the starting grid.