Hamilton sets Sepang pace

Briton finishes as fastest in Friday practice

Lewis Hamilton ended Friday's action in Malaysia at the top of the timesheets after a late charge to dethrone Felipe Massa.

Massa had been leading the way after taking the P1 slot off his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who led the bulk of the session. However, the Finn was unable to hold of a charging Massa, who in turn lost out to Hamilton.

The surprise of the session, though, came from Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel who finished with the fourth and fifth best times of Practice Two. They finished ahead of McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen.

The start of P2 saw a flurry of activity as the drivers hit the track, immediately setting lap times. Fernando Alonso, Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg set the fastest three times before being overtaken by Robert Kubica. The Pole, who sat out most of the morning session, clocked a 1:38.160.

Sebastian Vettel took second place behind Kubica, while Nelson Piquet Jr took sixth place. However, all the drivers dropped down two places when Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton shot to the top of the timesheets, with Kovalainen 0.167s ahead of his team-mate.

Jarno Trulli moved up to P6 with his team-mate Timo Glock slotting in two places behind him. The arrival of Kimi Raikkonen, though, saw everyone drop one place as the Finn went P1 with a 1:36.119, which was a massive 1.8s faster than Kovalainen's best time.


Improvements for Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button put both Honda drivers in the top ten, while Hamilton overtook his team-mate for second place. The Brit, though, was still a second off Raikkonen's pace.

Piquet moved up to sixth place before losing out to Mark Webber. The Renault driver, however, went even better on his next lap taking fourth place while Button leapt up to P7. Felipe Massa dropped everyone, except Raikkonen, one place as he went second, 0.802s behind his team-mate.

After 30 minutes of session only two drivers had not set times: David Coulthard, who wasn't taking part in Practice Two, due to his accident during the morning's session, and Sebastien Bourdais, who broke down on his installation lap.

Not to be outdone by his team-mate, Alonso moved to fourth place only to be knocked back one slot by Vettel - another impressive lap from the Toro Rosso driver.

Raikkonen improved his time to a 1:36.045 and the came under attack from Vettel as the Toro Rosso driver took second place ahead of Massa and Hamilton.

Hamilton charge

The two McLarens return to the track, looking to edge ahead of the Ferraris. Kovalainen moves up ahead of Hamilton, getting within a second of Raikkonen's P1 time.

Vettel became the first driver to get within half a second of Raikkonen, closing the gap to 0.429 while Hamilton shaved three tenths off his own time. The McLaren driver moved up to P5 ahead of Nico Rosberg who had just overtaken him with Trulli taking P7 off Alonso before pitting.

Hamilton leapfrogs Kovalainen with Piquet Jr doing the same thing to Alonso before pitting. Button's up to seventh place while Raikkonen sets a new fastest first sector time. And a fastest second sector. But he loses time in the third and is unable to improve his overall lap time.

Massa, though, does improve his, taking second place, just 0.374s behind his team-mate.

Kubica is up to seventh place ahead of Button and Trulli. His team-mate Heidfeld is down in 15th place. Hamilton's up to second place, 0.369s behind Raikkonen only for the Finn to extend his lead at the top after setting a blistering 1:35.627. Massa follows suit, leapfrogging Hamilton and moving to within a tenth of Raikkonen's time.

Kazuki Najakima makes an impression on the timesheets, taking sixth place off Rosberg. However, all eyes are on Massa who finally deposes Raikkonen with a 1:35.485. The Brazilian goes on to set three fastest sector times, improving his time to a 1:35.206.

With five minutes left to go Hamilton takes the P1 off the Ferrari drivers with a 1:35.055, 0.151s ahead of Massa.

All 20 drivers still in the session hit the track for the final two minutes. Button improved to fourth place, Trulli to sixth and Giancarlo Fisichella broke into the top ten.

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:35.055 32 laps
02 F. Massa Ferrari 1:35.206 33 laps
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.428 36 laps
04 J. Button Honda 1:36.037 40 laps
05 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:36.474 35 laps
06 J. Trulli Toyota 1:36.493 38 laps
07 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:36.512 30 laps
08 R. Kubica BMW 1:36.671 33 laps
09 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:36.756 37 laps
10 K. Nakajima Williams 1:36.838 34 laps
11 R. Barrichello Honda 1:36.879 38 laps
12 N. Rosberg Williams 1:36.908 36 laps
13 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:37.106 3 laps
14 F. Alonso Renault 1:37.328 23 laps
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:37.331 42 laps
16 M. Webber Red Bull 1:37.346 37 laps
17 T. Glock Toyota 1:37.512 35 laps
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:37.614 35 laps
19 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:39.021 27 laps
20 A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:39.361 30 laps
21 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso no time 1 laps
22 D. Coulthard Red Bull no time laps