Formula 1 has headed to Sepang for the second race of the 2014 season. And Mercedes is proving at the hot and humid Malaysian track that the turn of speed they displayed in Australia, and indeed in pre-season testing, wasnâ€™t a fluke.
During the first free practice session at Sepang Lewis Hamilton took one Silver Arrow to the top of the timing sheets, just pipping Kimi Raikkonen out of the top spot. Raikkonen split the two Mercedes drivers, with Nico Rosberg finishing third. McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 5. Jean-Eric Vergne set the sixth fastest time in the Toro Rosso, with Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull clocking the seventh fastest time, behind their usually slower sister concern (although that trend seems to be changing rapidly in 2014).
In Free Practice 2, it was Nico Rosberg who clocked the fastest time of the session, just dropping under the 1 minute 40 second mark, setting a time of 1 minute 39.909 seconds. Once again in second place was Ferrariâ€™s Kimi Raikkonen who set a time just 0.035 seconds off Rosbergâ€™s pace. Sebastian Vettel managed to go quicker this time around, the displeasing sound of the Red Bull not holding him back in this case, while Hamilton clocked the fourth-quickest timing of the session.
Missing from the front-runners in the second free practice session were the two McLarens of Button and Magnussen. The final free practice session before qualifying could be a more accurate depiction of the final pace of the cars, though. Watch this space.