Mar 22, 2013, 3:51 AM EDT
Kimi Raikkonen managed to set the quickest time during the second Free Practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix before heavy rain hit Sepang with around 45 minutes to go.
The Lotus driver edged out Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, both of whom finished within one-tenth of Raikkonen, as Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus continue to show good pace at the start of the season.
Rain clouds were forming above the Sepang International Circuit just as the session started, and many of the teams opted to get out early on the dry compounds. The high tire wear experienced in FP1 persisted, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Chilton both flat-spotting their Pirellis.
Soon after Raikkonen went quickest, the rain began to fall, and although some drivers tried to continue on their dry tires, conditions only worsened. Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez all spun before moving onto intermediate tires.
Many of the drivers decided to stay in the pits once the rain came, but some decided to get used to the wet conditions. Thunderstorms are forecast for the rest of the race weekend, meaning that any wet running could be precious to the teams.
The rain did subside towards the end of the session, and although the entire field opted to give the dry tires another run, no-one could better Raikkonen’s time at the top.
Lotus will be pleased to have shown that their Australia pace was no fluke, and Raikkonen will undoubtedly be hoping for a dry race on Sunday in order to maximize the potential of the E21. The results do suggest that Ferrari and Red Bull will be close at the front though, and a sprinkling of rain could bring the likes of Mercedes and Force India into the running.
Free Practice 2 – Classification
1 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:36.569
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:36.588 +0.019
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.661 +0.092
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.985 +0.416
5 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.026 +0.457
6 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.206 +0.637
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.448 +0.879
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.571 +1.002
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.574 +1.005
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.788 +1.219
11 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.838 +1.269
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.865 +1.296
13 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.068 +1.499
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.645 +2.076
15 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.738 +2.169
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.801 +2.232
17 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:38.904 +2.335
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.508 +2.939
19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.660 +3.091
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:40.757 +4.188
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.768 +4.199
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.438 +4.869
Video from NASCAR America
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