The Lewis Hamilton vs Nico Rosberg battle resumes in Sepang with the Malaysia Grand Prix. Rosberg has taken back his lead in the drivers' championship standings after a couple of impressive wins and the pressure is on Hamilton to produce a flawless drive in the Malaysia GP this weekend.
A pole position in qualifying will be a good start towards that target, with Hamilton laying the marker by posting the fastest time in free practice two on Friday. Rosberg, though, was the fastest in the opening practice session and was only two-tenths off Hamilton's time in the afternoon drive.
The two Ferraris – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen – were third and fourth in FP2, but, again, this looks like being another head-to-head battle between Hamilton and Rosberg.
"That was a good day," Hamilton said after the practice sessions. "No issues to report and we got through our run plans in both sessions.
"Overall a good building block for (qualifying) and the rest of the weekend."
Rosberg currently leads the standings by eight points from Hamilton, having picked up 273 over the course of the season so far. He is the man in form and if Hamilton doesn't manage to take pole in the qualifying session on Saturday, that lead could bulge further.
The Mercedes man sounded confident going into qualifying. "The new track surface is really enjoyable to drive," Rosberg said. "Challenging, but with good grip. It's tough to get the setup right with such an unknown element as new tarmac, but we're on the right track.
"Looking at the race, even the soft tyre held on pretty well out there, so we don't expect any big surprises. Strategy-wise we have to run the hard compound, of course, but otherwise it's pretty straightforward. I'm looking forward now to qualifying."
The Force India drivers had a good FP2, with Sergio Perez posting the sixth fastest time while Nico Hulkenberg was ninth. Another similar performance in qualifying will now be the target.
Where to Watch Live
The qualifying session is set to begin at 5pm local time (2.30pm IST, 10am BST, 5am ET).
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports Select HD2|
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|US||NBC Sports Online|
|UK||Watch Sky Sports|
|Middle East||BeIN Sport Connect|
|Asia||Fox Sports Online|
|Italy||Sky Go Italy|
|Germany||Sky Go Germany|