Friday, 27 March 2015

Motorsport: Updates from the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

The Malaysian Grand Prix 2015 is up and running hot. I mean it is so hot that Nico Rosberg, who finished as runner-up in last year’s championship wears a sanitary towel on his forehead during

The overwhelming heat and humidity are physically wearing for the drivers in a way experienced at no other venue on the calendar. It is a very tough affair for both drivers and cars.  March is  one of the cruellest months in Malaysia, with the highest rainfall of the year and average temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade. Be prepared for some changing weather conditions!

Lewis Hamilton was forced out of practice 1 of the Malaysian GP completing just four laps before engine problem strikes. Mercedes had sent the Briton’s car out for its early laps without the use of telemetry after problems in the garage and duly asked Hamilton to stop as a precaution. After subsequently conducting an investigation when the W06 was returned to the garage, the world champions confirmed that an engine problem had struck. Mercedes confirmed after the session that the power unit's inlet system had failed, but that the problem wouldn't result in the loss of the engine and leave Hamilton with just three penalty-free units to complete the season.
Hamilton was therefore sidelined for the remainder of an opening session which ended with Ferrari coming on strong in the closing stage.

At the start of the session all eyes had been on Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard returned to the track in the McLaren-Honda for the first time since his Barcelona testing crash on the final day of the second winter test.

New signings Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were over six-and-a-half seconds off the pace but the 16 laps they completed between them in P1 will give the team valuable data as they continue their recovery after coming out of administration last month.

2015 Malaysia GP Practice One Timesheet:

1) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:40.124
2) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:40.497
3) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:40.985
4) Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:41.543
5) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:41.596
6) Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:41.787
7) Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:41.803
8) Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:41.882
9) Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:42.055
10) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:42.064
11) Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:42.103
12) Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:42.567
13) Raffaele Marciello, Sauber, 1:42.621
14) Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:42.885
15) Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:42.893
16) Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:43.054
17) Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:43.100
18) Will Stevens, Manor, 1:46.686
19) Roberto Merhi, Manor, 1:47.683
20) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, No time

After loosing out of practice 1, Lewis Hamilton came back ferociously for practice 2.
Lewis Hamilton overcame a delayed start and telemetry issues to top the timesheets inthe second practice session in Kuala Lumpur on Friday afternoon.

The reigning world champion had to wait until the 38th minute of the session before taking to the track, as Mercedes dealt with the engine issue that curtailed his running in FP1. However once he did get going, Hamilton worked his way down to 1m 39.790s on the medium tyre to eclipse Kimi Raikkonen’s best effort for Ferrari.

Nico Rosberg was third quickest in the second Mercedes, but it was a session in which the true pecking order was somewhat disguised as many drivers found themselves struggling for grip and balance on Pirelli's medium tyre.

Others, however, made gains, notably the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who had reverted their cars to a more standard set-up after trying something that didn’t work this morning.

Due to the changing track conditions the session was once again somewhat inconclusive, so we may have to wait until FP3 tomorrow - possibly even qualifying - to ascertain the true pecking order and speed differentials.

Practice 2 Timesheet:

1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1:39.79016
2) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:40.1630.37329
3) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1:40.2180.42826
4) Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull 1:40.3460.55617
5) Valtteri Bottas, Williams 1:40.4500.66031
6) Felipe Massa, Williams 1:40.5600.7702
7) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 1:40.6520.86229
8) Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso 1:41.2201.43030
9) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 1:41.2611.47130
10) Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing 1:41.7992.0098
11) Pastor Maldonado, Lotus 1:41.8772.08715
12) Felipe Nasr, Sauber 1:41.9882.19830
13) Sergio Perez, Force India 1:42.2422.45224
14) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso 1:42.2912.50131
15) Nico Hulkenberg, Force India 1:42.3302.54028
16) Fernando Alonso, McLaren 1:42.5062.71625
17) Jenson Button, McLaren 1:42.6372.84724
18) Romain Grosjean, Lotus 1:42.9483.1587
19) Will Stevens, Marussia 1:45.7045.91412
20) Roberto Merhi, Marussia1:47.2297.4396

The third pratice will hold tomorrow, Saturday, 28 March and the race will hold on Sunday, 29 March. Stay tuned for more updates.



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