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Hamilton continues to set Sepang pace

NEWS STORY
02/04/2010

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 32 degrees C, while the track temperature is 47 degrees. It remains bright and sunny with humidity at 49 percent. There was a brief shower about an hour ago, however, the track is now fully dry, indeed, it was like it never happened.

This morning's session took place in almost ideal conditions, however, for the last week there have been tropical storms in the late afternoon, a factor that is likely to be of even more concern tomorrow and Sunday when the action gets underway three hours later than this session.

In this morning's session McLaren appeared to have the edge, with Hamilton and Button first and second for much of the time until a late charge saw Mercedes drivers Rosberg and Schumacher take second and fourth.

McLaren appearing to make full use of its F-duct, while Sauber is once again running its version of the device.

Vettel complained that his car was sluggish under acceleration, insisting that it felt as though his brakes were on, however, team boss Christian Horner saying it was a minor engine problem.

Tyre options are hard (prime) and soft (option), though we didn't see the softer compound this morning.

Heikki Kovalainen and Tonio Liuzzi watched from the sidelines this morning, replaced by their teams' test drivers - Fairuz Fauzy and Paul di Resta - however, both are back in action this afternoon. Indeed, when the lights go green Kovalainen is first out, ahead of di Grassi, Webber and Liuzzi.

Kovalainen posts the first time of the afternoon, crossing the line at 1:44.393 however, this is soon beaten by di Grass who crosses the line at 43.500.

A 38.679 sees Liuzzi go quickest, as Kobayashi spins.

Button goes quickest in the first sector and Buemi in the second as Alguersuari goes quickest over all with a 37.562.

Buemi posts 36.926 as Button aborts his lap, elsewhere Hamilton goes quickest in the first sector. The 2008 champ is quickest again in the second sector, finally crossing the line at 34.954, going quickest by 1.972.

Robert Kubica continues o impress in the Renault, the Pole going second with a 36.012. Moments later however, he is demoted when Button posts 35.541 to go second.

Ten minutes into the session, Alonso goes twelfth with a 39.716 as teammate Massa heads down the pitlane.

Hamilton goes quickest in the first two corners but loses time behind Trulli in the final corner and consequently he fails to improve.

As Schumacher begins his first flying lap, countryman Sutil goes fourth with a 36.278. Elsewhere, Hamilton now loses time behind one of the Hispanias.

Schumacher goes third with a 35.681, the Mercedes not looking entirely at ease. Meanwhile, the Ferraris remain fifteenth and seventeenth.

Webber, currently eighteenth (39.521) is on a charge, the Red Bull looking very stable and quick. That said, he only improves to 39.214.

Rosberg goes second with a 35.351, once again splitting the McLarens and once again out-pacing his illustrious teammate.

Hamilton goes quickest in the second sector and again in the third, crossing the line at 34.765. Moments later, Schumacher posts 35.309 making it a Mercedes 2-3. Replay shows the German struggling for grip particularly under braking.

Massa and Alonso, both well down the timesheets, are on long runs, Ferrari clearly focussing on reliability and tyre wear as opposed to outright pace at this stage

Button's left-rear tyre is showing a lot of wear, just as Webber's session comes to a close, the Australian deliberately driving into the gravel after some kind of failure. Not the best start for Red Bull, particularly when one considers Vettel's complaints during the earlier session.

Rosberg goes quickest in the first sector and a personal best in the second, even though yellow flags are being waved following Webber's retirement. The German, one of the first drivers to run on the option tyre, crosses the line at 35.145 to go second.

Petrov (option) posts personal bests in the first two sectors, crossing the line at 35.872 to go seventh. Alonso, also on options, remains fifteenth (38.637).

Buemi (option) improves to fifth with a 35.660, ahead of Kubica and Petrov.

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