It was another clean sweep for Mercedes in Malaysia, with Nico Rosberg leading the first session and then Lewis Hamilton taking to the front in the afternoon.
That really isn’t the whole answer though, with the chasing pack of Ferrari and Red Bull close on race pace, despite the headline times showing that the World Championship-elect team ahead. By all accounts it was an easy day for the team, with their drivers separated by just a couple of tenths of a second.
Leading the afternoon session, Hamilton said, “That was a good day today. No issues to report and we got through our run plans in both sessions. There’s a lot of data to analyse tonight to make sure we have a good understanding of the tyres and of our position relative to the others.
“Overall a good building block for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend. A big shout-out to the fans out here today. I saw them waving across in the stands at the end of FP2 and they’ve all got banners and caps showing their support, which is great to see.”
After leading the morning session, Rosberg was still pleased with the days running, “The new track surface is really enjoyable to drive. 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. Turn 15 is interesting, as you can now try several different lines if you’re attacking the guy in front, so that will be good for overtaking.
“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.”