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Almost two weeks after Nico Rosberg took the win in the opening Grand Prix of the season at the Australian Grand Prix, the teams regrouped again at the Sepang International Circuit for the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man in the first 90 minute session with some time to spare in the middle sector of the lap. The gap between Hamilton and his next competitor wasn’t as large as the team had previously enjoyed in Melbourne. Lewis was only a tenth of a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen, who showed a massive improvement in his Ferrari.

Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was third fastest ahead of the two men he shared the podium with in Albert Park; Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Kevin had held the fastest time briefly, but his McLaren went into recovery mode and he had to crawl  into the pits.

Jean-Eric Vergne ended the first session in sixth ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and Nico Hulkenburg in the Force India.

Former Ferrari team-mates Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were 9th and 11th, with the pair split by Massa’s new team mate Valterri Bottas. Felipe and Fernando both had similar spins at turn eight as some drivers initially struggled with handling.

Daniel Ricciardo, who had finished on the podium at his home Grand Prix before being disqualified, was in 12th place and looked to have lost some of the pace he had in Melbourne.

Three cars didn’t set lap times during the session, with both Lotus drivers still struggling after a dismal opening race. Sergio Perez joined them after suffering a fuel pressure problem.

Practice one times:

POSDriverTeamTime
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’40.691
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.843
3Nico RosbergMercedes1’41.028
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’41.111
5Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’41.274
6Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’41.402
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’41.523
8Nico HulkenburgForce India1’41.642
9Felipe MassaWilliams1’41.686
10Valtteri BottasWilliams1’41.830
11Fernando AonsoFerrari1’41.923
12Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’42.117
13Adrian SutilSauber1’42.365
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’42.869
15Esteban GutierrezSauber1’42.904
16Jules BianchiMarussia1’43.825
17Marcus EricssonCaterham1’45.775
18Max ChiltonMarussia1’46.911
19Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’51.180
20Sergio PerezForce IndiaNo Time
21Pastor MaldonadoLotusNo Time
22Romain GrosjeanLotusNo Time

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Mercedes continued to top the time-sheets in the second session, but now it was the turn of Nico Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen remained in second place and was now a mere three hundredths of a second down on Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel was third fastest and appeared to show a massive improvement after an awful weekend in Australia. He was within a tenth of a second of pace-setter Rosberg.

Vettel has been extremely vocal of his disappointment with the new Formula One engine sound. He has been quoted as saying that batteries should stay in phones. Fellow driver Jenson Button defended the sound by saying that if anybody didn’t like, then they should race in another series.

Practice one leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, with both of the Mercedes cars seeming to wear out their tyres quicker than their rivals in the fifty degree heat of the session.

Alonso in his Ferrari and Massa in his Williams were fifth and sixth fastest and were both within two tenths of the fastest time by Rosberg.

Ricciardo was seventh fastest ahead of Button and Bottas, with Hulkenburg completing the top ten.

Kevin Magnussen was down in 12th after seemingly losing pace after the first session. Two cars once again didn’t set times, with Pastor Maldonado struggling once again in his Lotus and Kamui Kobayashi in his Caterham. Maldonado’s team mate managed to set a time in this session, with Grosjean completing 14 laps before a gearbox problem.

Practice two times:

POSDriverTeamTime
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’39.909
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’39.944
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’39.970
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’40.051
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.103
6Felipe MassaWilliams1’40.112
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’40.276
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’40.628
9Valtteri BottasWilliams1’40.638
10Nico HulkenburgForce India1’40.691
11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’40.777
12Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’41.014
13Adrian SutilSauber1’41.257
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’41.325
15Esteban GuttierezSauber1’41.407
16Sergio PerezForce India1’41.671
17Romain GrosjeanLotus1’42.531
18Max ChiltonMarussia1’43.638
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’43.752
20Marcus EricssonCaterham1’45.703
21Kamui KobayashiCaterhamNo Time
22Pastor MaldonadoLotusNo Time
By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing
Follow Jordan on twitter at www.twitter.com/jgroves1996

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