Raikkonen tops rain-affected FP2 in Malaysia

Lotus driver quickest before showers disrupt afternoon in Sepang.

Australian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen edged Sebastian Vettel for quickest lap in a rain-hit second free practice session in Malaysia.

Vettel was the early pacesetter with a time of 1:36.588 but half an hour into the afternoon session at the Sepang Circuit Raikkonen delivered a lap just two hundredths of a seconds quicker than the defending champion to annex top spot. Both men had logged their laps on the medium Pirelli tyre as the teams brought out the softer of the two compounds earlier than expected due to the imminent threat of rain.

The showers finally arrived 50 minutes into the session with the result that the field immediately retreated to the garages to consider their options. First out, on intermediates, was Sergio Perez and the downpour abated and a dry line formed the rest followed as the teams gathered valuable information on running in wet conditions.

The track dried quickly, however, and with ten minutes to go the switch was made back to slick tyres. The final minutes saw all cars on track in a frantic bid to gather as much dry-running data as possible but the times remained largely unaffected, with Raikkonen and Vettel holding on to their top two places.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa ended the session as third-quickest man and the top five was completed by team-mate Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, the morning’s quickest man.

It was a tricky afternoon for several drivers, most notably Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez. The Mexican was first forced back to the garage early in the session when his cockpit fire extinguisher went off and then later and more seriously he was sidelined by a broken exhaust. He made it out again at the end of the wet spell to eventually finish 14th.

Adrian Sutil too hit problems and he spent the final half hour out of the car as hit pit crew investigated an oil seal problem with his Force India VJM06.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Times

1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:36.569s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.588s
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.661s
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.985s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:37.026s
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:37.206s
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.448s
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1:37.571s
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.574s
10. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:37.788s
11. Sergio Perez McLaren 1:37.838s
12. Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.865s
13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:38.068s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:38.645s
15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:38.738s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:38.801s
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:38.904s
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:39.508s
19. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.660s
20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:40.757s
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:40.768s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1:41.438s