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Ferrari takes 1-2 in FP2 before Grosjean crash halts Malaysia F1 GP session

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Ferrari takes 1-2 in FP2 before Grosjean crash halts Malaysia F1 GP session
Sep 29, 2017, 9:37 AM

Ferrari took a one-two in the second free practice session of the Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix as Red Bull took third and fourth, with Mercedes in...

Ferrari took a one-two in the second free practice session of the Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix as Red Bull took third and fourth, with Mercedes in sixth and seventh. Sebastian Vettel led with a time of 1m31.261s on super-soft tyres, 0.604 seconds ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The session was red-flagged with 20 minutes remaining as Romain Grosjean hit a raised drain cover at Turn 13, ripping off his right-rear tyre and hitting the barriers waiting him at the run-off area. The session was stopped as race director Charlie Whiting determined that the track was not safe for further running.

After a wet first practice session which was limited due to heavy rain in which the Red Bulls led through Max Verstappen – 0.757s ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – and Fernando Alonso took third ahead of Raikkonen and Vettel, FP2 was a drier affair altogether.

Verstappen led for the first 20 minutes, only for Vettel to take top spot by 0.283s with a time of 1m32.456s. The majority of the field, including the leaders, began the session on soft tyres as the green track evolved through the next 90 minutes.

With an hour remaining, super-softs were equipped and Ricciardo gained nine tenths himself as the first driver to use the super-softs on a flying lap, to put himself top momentarily with 1m32.099s. Verstappen complained of understeer and returned for brief a set-up change, only managing to complete 11 laps - the least - in FP2.

Ricciardo beat his team-mate's best time by 0.010s to finish third, as the two Red Bull drivers continued to set close lap times in third and fourth place. The Ferraris duly retook top spot as Vettel checked in at 1m31.261s just after the Red Bulls had set their super-soft flying laps.

Mercedes once again struggled on super-softs at Sepang, and Bottas finished seventh, 0.043s ahead behind sixth place Hamilton. However, engines are yet to be turned up this weekend, and Mercedes will be looking to its power unit to deliver an extra few seconds.

Alonso took his McLaren-Honda to fifth place, 0.113s ahead of Hamilton.

Early on in the session, Valtteri Bottas ran wide on the run-up to Turn 11, taking a trip through the gravel but avoiding the wall after having set a fastest mid-sector time. Five minutes later, Hamilton heavily flat-spotted his tyres into Turn 7 with his own lock-up and spin through the gravel.

In eighth was Sergio Perez, who beat former Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg (ninth) by two tenths. Currrent Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon took 10th place, 0.234s behind his team-mate.

Jolyon Palmer continued his run of form, finishing the session 11th, narrowly ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa, whose own pace was noticeably improved from a torrid run of grands prix.

Massa (12th) was four tenths faster than 14th place Lance Stroll, whose complaints of understeer meant that Stoffel Vandoorne had split the two Williams by the end of the session.

Pierre Gasly, who replaces Daniil Kvyat for this race, returned to the pits 10 minutes into the session as smoke poured out of his Toro Rosso, but recovered to finish 15th, 0.061s ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr who was audibly unhappy with the pace of his Toro Rosso at the beginning of FP2 having reluctantly missed FP1 for Red Bull junior Sean Gelael.

Grosjean finished 17th having unfortunately hit the raised drain cover which was impossible to see, embedded in the red-and-white kerb of Turn 13. The drain cover was raised just before Grosjean took the corner, and a few drivers avoided it before an accident inevitably occurred.

Haas now has a job to do as the damage to Grosjean's car was heavy with an exploded tyre and smashed floor, with a full-speed impact sending his car flying into the run-off area. With more rain showers expected this weekend, the drains around the Sepang circuit were being checked long after the red-flag was flown.

Will Mercedes recover on Saturday to de-throne Ferrari at Sepang? Have your say in the comment section below.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Romain Grosjean Shop Now