Mercedes AMG Petronas shared space at the top of the time sheets in FP1 and FP2 in Malaysia thanks to a strong showing from drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
In FP1, it was Hamilton who recorded the top time of 1:40.691 after 19 laps of trouble free running with the power unit that suffered problems in Melbourne. Rosberg was still up the sharp end come the end of FP1 but could only record a time good enough for third place but was only three tenths of a second back on Hamilton.
Rosberg said at the end of the day: “It was crazy conditions out there. In the very, very warm temperatures, it’s a huge challenge to get everything right. The cars are on the edge and the tyre degradation was higher than expected today – we are sliding a bit more this year, perhaps because of the reduced downforce levels. We are still having some small issues and therefore we were not able to maximise everything today.”
In the second session the roles were reversed, the German clocked a 1:39.909 for Mercedes but team mate Hamilton was only one tenth back in fourth. Indeed the entire top six was covered by the equivalent of 12 car lengths.
“I’m happy with our progress over the two sessions today and we were able to complete our programme. The car feels good and our focus was on trying to understand the tyres and make sure the balance is right for the weekend. There are areas where we can improve so we’re keeping focused on our own work, rather than being distracted by what the others are doing. It was pretty tough with the temperature and humidity and it’s so important to keep hydrated here,” commented Hamilton.