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FP2 - Rosberg top as Magnussen crashes out

13 Mar 2015

There was drama from the start in Friday evening’s second practice session in Melbourne. First of all, Williams discovered a water leak on Felipe Massa’s FW37 after FP1; exit the Brazilian, as his car was repaired. Also in the garage was local hero Daniel Ricciardo, whose Red Bull’s Renault engine needed changing.

Then Romain Grosjean spun his Lotus, possibly pushing too hard to make up for lost time after his problems with an hydraulic leak in FP1. Team mate Pastor Maldonado also visited the scenery in his E23. Later the Venezuelan complained of loss of power.

Then after 17 minutes Kevin Magnussen got the approach to Turn 6 wrong, lost the back end, then crashed into the outer wall as his McLaren straightened up. The left-front suspension was damaged, and there was a seven-minute delay as the stricken car was recovered.

As all that was unfolding, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace for Ferrari until Lewis Hamilton separated them. In the other Mercedes, FP1 pacesetter Nico Rosberg complained that his DRS was inoperable.

Vettel’s 1m 29.801s held up as the fastest time on Pirelli’s medium, ahead of Hamilton’s 1m 30.096s and Raikkonen’s 1m 30.327s. When the softs came out Vettel was again fastest, on 1m 28.412s, but only because the Mercedes stayed on mediums for a lot longer. When they did switch, Rosberg aced it with 1m 27.697s. Hamilton lost a tenth in the first sector on his run, and was second again with 1m 27.797s. Raikkonen was fourth on 1m 28.842s, complaining that the front end lacked grip.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams with 1m 29.265s, as Daniil Kvyat just edged out stablemate Carlos Sainz Junior for sixth with 1m 30.016s to 1m 30.071s. The Russian complained of understeer on his Red Bull, while the Spaniard had a quick spin at Turn 15 in his Toro Rosso.

Lotus had both cars in the top 10, with Maldonado on 1m 30.104s to Grosjean’s 1m 30.205s. Nico Hulkenberg complained about poor aero balance on his Force India, but made it in with 1m 30.473s.

Sauber finally had both C34s out as their legal problems ground on in the background. Felipe Nasr was 11th on 1m 30.755s, but Marcus Ericsson was stranded in 15th in 1m 32.303s after his left-rear suspension broke following hard contact with the exit kerb at Turn 15.

Between them, Sergio Perez took 12th in the second Force India with 1m 30.980s. That left him ahead of Jenson Button in the understeering lead McLaren. He lapped in 1m 31.387s before complaining of power loss. Team mate Magnussen was left in 16th on 1m 33.289s after his indiscretion.

Besides Ricciardo and Massa, neither Marussia appeared as their software match-up problems continued.