Hamilton hits back by topping second practice in Malaysia

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Lewis Hamilton has bounced back from an engine issue that sidelined him during the first free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix by topping FP2 on Friday afternoon at Sepang.

The defending F1 world champion was limited to just four laps in the morning session after a problem with his power unit.

However, the Mercedes team worked hard to get him out in second practice when he soon re-established his dominance at the top of the timesheets.

Hamilton posted a fastest lap time of 1:39.790 to finish three-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, but remained frustrated after completing just 16 laps due to further minor issues with the Mercedes W06 Hybrid car.

His teammate, Nico Rosberg, failed to build on his P1 result from first practice, finishing third for Mercedes ahead of Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was forced to settle for seventh in the final standings, but was fortunate to continue running after a spin midway through the session that saw him narrowly avoid beaching his car.

Roberto Merhi of Manor had no such luck, though, finishing in the gravel after spinning in exactly the same place as Vettel to bring out a red flag. Nevertheless, the team’s fightback continued as Will Stevens completed 15 laps with the car in FP2.

Following difficult weekends in Australia, both Red Bull and McLaren continued to struggle in FP2. Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both encountered issues on their cars during the session, whilst the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished down in 16th and 17th places.

Despite finishing in top spot, Hamilton will unquestionably still be disappointed with his disjointed day of running at Sepang, having completed just 20 laps from both sessions. Nevertheless, the advantage lies with the Briton heading into tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions.

You can join us for complete coverage of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 5a ET tomorrow. For further broadcasting information, click here.