Malaysia GP: Mercedes search for answers as Ferrari surge in Practice

Red Bull Dominates First Practice Session at Malaysia GP

Hamilton and his mechanics opted to strip the auto of the updates for Saturday and it did the trick.

"That first Q3 lap I don't really know where it came from".

"It's very hard to identify what is the vehicle (rather than the driver) but we know that when Lewis puts the throttle down, he really does it well".

"Obviously we had a good race there previous year and it's going to be the last time we're in KL, at least in the near future, so we'll try and finish strong. The auto felt good".

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time Friday in second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.

Still, retired champion Nico Rosberg finished third past year after dropping to the back of the field with a spin on the opening lap and Vettel is optimistic he can minimise the damage.

Mercedes said the drivers had a lack of grip and the team did not yet understand why there were off the pace.

While it was expected to see Vettel at the starting of the grid tomorrow, especially after dominating the practice, the German had problems with his power unit's turbocharger and was seen limping back to the pits at the stat of qualifying.




With rain showers forecast for tomorrow, while Vettel's race starts from the back of the grid, his rival Hamilton's race will have to be a cautious one at the front.

"They are taking away the toughest, if not the toughest race of the season", Hamilton said.

Vettel, who had looked a strong favourite for pole before his problems, said: "We have a very quick auto so we should be able to make up a lot of ground". Verstappen was taken out in the Vettel crash two weeks ago in Singapore and is due for a strong finish.

"We did try some new aero parts today, so one answer may be that one of those parts didn't work as expected", he said.

The Malaysian Grand Prix has been a permanent fixture on the Formula One calendar since it hosted it's first race in 1999. "You always want to negotiate a deal when you're winning and leading the championship!" However, I do still feel like my state of mind is exactly the same as it was before. This unique design allows the cars to be more agile in the long sweeping fast corners of the circuit, and with power-sensitive zones being limited here, an engine advantage does not make much of a difference.

Mistakes on some level are unavoidable but the severity of Vettel sandwiching Red Bull's Max Verstappen in Singapore can not be underestimated in terms of the title.

Max Verstappen, who is celebrating his 20th birthday on Saturday, came in third, reports Xinhua news agency.

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