Lewis Hamilton is fastest in both practice sessions at Sepang
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was in impressive form in Friday practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The 2008 world champion was fastest in both sessions, heading Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull in the first and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher in the second.
Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button was third fastest in the second session.
The two McLaren drivers had locked out the front row of the grid in Melbourne after Hamilton took pole ahead of Button.
Red Bull appeared to be struggling to keep up, just as they were in Australia.
Vettel complained over the team radio that his car was “undriveable” in the afternoon, when he was 10th fastest and team-mate Mark Webber seventh.
Hamilton’s time in the morning session – when he was 0.514secs quicker than second-placed Vettel – was the fastest of the day.
Hamilton was 0.361 seconds ahead of Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher in the second session.
The track was slower in the second 90-minute session, but Hamilton eventually got down to within 0.051secs of his morning time – despite complaining that he had been held up by slower cars on his fastest lap.
“It does look like the McLaren and Mercedes will be in the mix at the front of the grid”
Gary AndersonBBC F1’s technical analyst
Mercedes again looked impressive – Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were third and fourth fastest in the morning session, and second and fourth in the afternoon.
Ferrari looked uncompetitive in the morning session, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso 13th and 15th fastest.
But Alonso improved his pace in the second session, when he was running a new front wing design, to take sixth place behind the Toro Rosso of Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson said: “It does look like the McLaren and Mercedes will be in the mix at the front of the grid.
“The McLaren tyres look pretty good – the Mercedes tyres are a bit more suspect.
“Ferrari had bad pick-up problems on the tyres in the morning, but watching Alonso come back in after his long run in the afternoon, they were the best I’ve seen. Maybe we are seeing a bit of a revival from Ferrari.
“Mark Webber came in after a fairly long run and the inside shoulder of the rear tyres looked fairly tatty.
“Red Bull have changed the front and rear torsion bars and the rear ride-height on his car. That’s more than I’ve seen Red Bull change their car mechanically than over the last two years.”