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Hamilton quickest in rain hit FP2

NEWS STORY
21/05/2015

Ahead of today's second session, the air temperature is 15 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 21 degrees. While FP1 ended in bright sunshine, in the last half-hour the clouds have closed in with a consequent drop in temperatures. There is a 40 percent chance of rain.

Tyre options this weekend are soft and supersoft, the latter, which features a new compound, making its 2015 debut. There is one DRS zone, and that's on the pit 'straight'.

While Lewis Hamilton was the clear pace-setter this morning, the order behind looked as though it had been decided by lottery, with Verstappen second, ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel, Sainz, Maldonado, Kvyat, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Massa.

Starting out on what was officially declared a wet track, it was only in the final moments that drivers began to settle down, going for quicker times.

As ever traffic was an issue, Kvyat making his frustration clear in no uncertain terms.

In a morning of countless near misses, Rosberg was the only driver to clout the barriers, though he incurred no visible damage. However, there were offs a plenty with Ste Devote, in particular, catching out even the best of them.

The lights go green and Rosberg leads the way. With the risk of rain it is likely that we'll be seeing more action than usual in the opening phase of this session.

Stevens follows Rosberg, ahead of Perez, Raikkonen, Maldonado, Sainz and Grosjean.

Rosberg gets the game going with a 21.941, though Raikkonen almost instantly goes quicker, the Finn stopping the clock at 20.490. Unfortunately, though he might have stopped the clock he doesn't stop the Ferrari, going wide, as so many have before him, at Ste Devote.

Vettel goes quickest (19.733) ass more and more drivers pour on to the track. Indeed, all but Ricciardo and Ericsson are on track.

Having locked-up at Mirabeau, Maldonado has to make use of the escape road.

Massa and Verstappen spit the Ferraris, while Sainz, currently fifth, looks set to improve. As does Raikkonen.

Sainz goes quickest (18.772) and Raikkonen second (19.317) as Hulkenberg complains that Rosberg keeps slowing. Elsewhere, Vettel 'does a Maldonado' at Mirabeau.

Verstappen makes it a Toro Rosso 1-2, but moments later Raikkonen improves (18.733) to split the Faenza pair.

Button complains - doesn't he ever - of wheelspin in the final corner.

Suddenly, it's business as usual as Hamilton goes quickest (17.640) and Rosberg second, Vettel goes third, albeit 0.655 off the pace.

Hamilton improves with a 17.192

Red Flag as Merhi loses it coming out of the tunnel, the bumpy surface unsettles the Manor and he hits the wall on his right-hand side. He's OK, and climbs from the car.

As silence falls on the track, Hamilton heads Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Sainz, Verstappen, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Grosjean.

As the session resumes at 14:20, up go the umbrellas in the stands as the rain begins to fall.

Maldonado heads out on supersofts... and just moments later he realises that this wasn't the best idea. "It's raining too much," he says. Indeed, the rain is increasing in intensity and the Venezuelan has to tip-toe around the track.

As the rain falls, most drivers climb from their cars, this isn't the place for unnecessary risks.

At 'half-time', with the rain still falling, all but Ericsson have posted times, though only Maldonado has dared venture out on the option rubber.

Esteban Gutierrez is doing his career no harm at all, as he watches proceedings - or lack of them - with Piero Ferrari.

With just over half-an-hour remaining the rain appears to have stopped, however the track is still very wet. The sun has popped through the clouds and gets to work on the damp patches.

As the inactivity continues, a few in the crowd are clearly unhappy, with some jeering and others clapping slowly. And who can blame them. In the McLaren garage Alonso feigns a yawn.

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