Hamilton sets the pace in Malaysia

Updated: March 23, 2012

Lewis Hamilton underlined his credentials for a Malaysian win as he set a blistering pace at Sepang in morning practice leaving him almost half a second quicker than his rivals.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was second fastest with a time of 1:38.535, marginally ahead of the Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, who were separated by just 13 hundredths of a second.

Vettel is going for a third consecutive win in Malaysia and at 11/4 on 2BET2  its a possibility. Showers on race day are expected which will certainly favour last weeks winner Jenson Button at 5/2. Merecedes are showing express pace and with rain predicted, 7 times world champion Michael Schumacher 25/1 could very well be a threat as he seeks his first podium since his comeback.

Kimi Raikkonen will take a five place grid penalty for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix after Lotus had to replace his car’s gearbox on Friday.

According to Formula One rules, a driver must use one gearbox for five successive races with an unscheduled change costing five places on the grid.

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:38.021
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 1:38.535
3. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:38.813
4. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1:38.826
5. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Renault 1:38.919
6. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1:39.092
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus – Renault 1:39.128
8. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India – Mercedes 1:39.298
9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:39.323
10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 1:39.440

The afternoon again delivered express pace for McLaren as Button come home 3rd with Hamilton again top of the times. Michael Schumacher again showed he will be a threat this year separating the 2 Brits.