For those of you that don’t have Sky Sports F1 and get your F1 practice session updates via the BBC Sport website or similar, here’s a few things you may have missed that could play a crucial part in Sunday’s race.
- Hamilton may be sitting pretty at the top of the time sheets after P1 and P2, but don’t assume his one lap pace will be converted into an easy race win. The 27 year-old struggled with the MP4-27 on heavy fuel load runs, and could be set to disappoint fans in Sepang if his head isn’t in the right place after being outpaced by his teammate in Melbourne.
- If you read my last post, you’ll know I tipped Michael Schumacher to be on pole position in qualifying. Both he and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg set encouraging lap times in the second practice session. However, after Lewis’ domination in practice so far, a P.P for Schumi seems less and less likely. Worse still for the German team is that there’s no indication there race distance pace has improved. With Sepang being notoriously tough on tyres, Mercedes could be set for another race spent struggling in the midfield.
- Paul di Resta, who salvaged Force India some points in Australia, will be lucky to finish the race at all on current form. The Scot struggled to keep his VJM05 honest, suffering heavy oversteer on two ocassions at the high speed turn 12 S’s.
- Williams had a positive first race last week but still have a long season ahead of them with a lot to learn. Their drivers, Pastor Maldonado and Brunno Senna too, have a lot to learn, which is why I can’t understand the team’s decision to take valuable track time away from Bruno Senna in the interest of developing young driver talent. As much fun as it is making Vallteri #BOTTAS trend on Twitter, missing out on every first practice session could cost Senna and Williams dearly.
- And finally, good and bad news for HRT; the good news being that there DRS is functioning again – the faulty Drag Reduction System meant they failed to qualify in Melbourne, but it’s repair should see them safely within 107% of the pole-sitter’s time. The bad news is they might not get a chance to set a lap time in qualifying, as their cars keep breaking down!
As I type, P3 is only 27 minutes away! Looks like I’m doing an all-nighter and staying up for qualifying!