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Webber continues to set Sepang pace

NEWS STORY
08/04/2011

Ahead of today's second free practice session the air temperature is now 31 degrees C, while the track temperature is 48 degrees. Humidity is now running at 50 percent considerably lower than the first session. It is now much brighter with the sun breaking through.

There were a number of dramatic incidents in the opening session, with Petrov suffering an upright failure and D'Ambrosio a suspension failure while Heidfeld had a suspension-related issue when his front-left appeared to freeze. The situation at Renault is not helped by the fact that both drivers are using different makes of brakes, consequently, while they investigate the issue, the British team is not running in this early stages of this session.

Tyre wear was also an issue with many drivers struggling for grip, not only due to their own tyre wear but also courtesy of the excessive marbles littering the track.

When the lights go green, Alguersuari is first out of the box followed by Perez, di Resta, Liuzzi and Trulli.

Alguersuari posts the first time of the afternoon (1:43.663) but this is almost instantly beaten by Perez (42.171) and then Kobayashi (41.805). Just five minutes into the session there are ten names on the timesheets.

Having gone quickest in the final two sectors, Schumacher goes quickest (40.657), but is soon beaten by his former Ferrari teammate when Felipe Massa posts a 40.463.

As Hamilton goes quickest in S1, Barrichello goes quickest overall (40.441), it's absolutely fast and furious out there.

Sure enough, Hamilton goes quickest, eclipsing Barrichello's time by 1.454s.

Almost every day this week, storms have hit the track at about 16:00. Today's session ends at 15:30, however, that isn't the case tomorrow for qualifying or Sunday's race.

The times continue to tumble, Button, Schumacher and then Hamilton all improving, the 2008 world champion posting a 38.987.

Barrichello, having gone quickest in S1, loses a heap of time in the final sector and consequently fails to improve.

No sooner has Webber been told to go easy on his tyres than Sutil runs wide at the same corner.

Webber complains that he is already struggling with his rear tyres, the TV cameras support his claim.

Maldonado picks his way through the marbles to post a 38.968, the Venezuelan going quickest in the second sector only.

Twenty-three minutes into the session all but the Virgin and Renault duos have posted times, both teams investigating their own individual issues. That said, Glock heads down the pitlane for his first lap of the afternoon.

Button improves to third with a 39.550 to make it a McLaren 2-3, just ahead of the Schumacher led Mercedes 4-5.

As Maldonado continues to head the timesheets, teammate Barrichello posts a 39.187 to go third as the Grove outfit attempts to make amends for a dismal outing in Melbourne.

Having used the first session almost purely for testing purposes, Ferrari ups its game with Alonso going third (39.122) and Massa sixth (39.705).

One of the first drivers to switch to the soft rubber, Schumacher posts 38.088 to go quickest. It will be interesting to see how quickly the softs drop off in performance. Alguersuari (also on softs) goes second with a 38.846 - 0.758s off the Mercedes driver's pace.

All eyes on Vettel (softs) who goes quickest in S1. Teammate Webber is also on a hot lap running not too far behind the German. Vettel is quickest again in S2, finally crossing the line at 37.090 while the Australian, having gone quickest in S3, goes quickest overall with a 36.876. That's 1.212s quicker than Schumacher.

More and more drivers switching to the soft rubber now as Petrov fires up the Renault and heads down the pitlane. Elsewhere, more misery for Hispania as Liuzzi parks his car at the exit to Turn 9. Replay shows the Italian running wide and hitting the kerbs with a vengeance.

Misery for Williams also as Maldonado runs on to the grass, spins and then goes head first into the barrier at the entry to the pit lane. To had to his embarrassment the nose of his car is buried deep into a hoarding belonging to former sponsor - insurance company - Allianz.

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