Lewis Hamilton set the pace in today's second free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The McLaren driver was fastest in the day's earlier session and repeated the feat in the afternoon with a series of short runs.
Hamilton was the first front runner up to speed and matched his best time from first practice in the first 15 minutes. He worked his way down through the 1m34sec and posted his best lap halfway through.
The session was half an hour old before the first quick time was set on the option tire, and from then on several drivers complained about the balance of the car on the softer compound so early in the weekend's running.
Just seconds after setting the fastest time of the session, Hamilton was on the radio to McLaren to say: "The options feel very poor, very aggressive, causing wheel spin."
It was much later in the session before teammate Jenson Button took on the option tire, but he wasn't happy with them either, reporting both understeer and rear-end instability.
Sebastian Vettel set the second-quickest time, taking his first run on the option tire with around half an hour to go. He initially suspected that he had a power steering problem, but set a 1m34.4sec lap a couple of minutes later. Red Bull's reliability woes continued, though, with Mark Webber forced to park his car in the gravel at Turn 9 after less than half an hour. The team suspects an engine failure.
Mercedes finished the session with its cars third and fifth, sandwiching Button's McLaren. Nico Rosberg was just 0.002sec quicker than Button, while Schumacher topped the times for 30 seconds before Hamilton set his best lap, and was eventually pushed down to fifth.
Ferrari opted to spend the majority of the session running with heavy fuel and for most of the 90 minutes its cars were four seconds off the pace in 17th and 19th places. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa strapped on the softer rubber for runs at the end. Alonso went seventh, behind Robert Kubica's Renault, while Massa's improvement was more marginal, up to 15th.
There were no major incidents in the session, but plenty of cars flying off the road as the drivers struggled to harness the option tire. Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi combined to go off three times in as many minutes as the back ends of their Toro Rossos got away from them.
Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna were caught out, running wide at the long right-hander at Turn 11. Kamui Kobayashi also had a half spin at the Turn 9 hairpin in the first five minutes.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.175 27
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:34.441 + 0.266 28
3. Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.443 + 0.268 30
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.538 + 0.363 24
5. Schumacher Mercedes 1:34.674 + 0.499 30
6. Kubica Renault 1:35.148 + 0.973 34
7. Alonso Ferrari 1:35.581 + 1.406 34
8. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:35.660 + 1.485 39
9. Petrov Renault 1:35.872 + 1.697 20
10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:35.957 + 1.782 32
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.018 + 1.843 38
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:36.221 + 2.046 34
13. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.325 + 2.150 33
14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.325 + 2.150 39
15. Massa Ferrari 1:36.602 + 2.427 30
16. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:36.813 + 2.638 26
17. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:37.415 + 3.240 19
18. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:38.454 + 4.279 34
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:38.530 + 4.355 32
20. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.786 + 4.558 13
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.061 + 4.886 23
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.158 + 4.983 29
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:41.084 + 6.909 27
24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:41.481 + 7.306 32
All Timing Unofficial