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Kimi Räikkönen topped the timesheets during Friday afternoon's second practice session at Sepang, moving to the front before a rain shower affected proceedings. The Lotus driver, who clocked a 1:36.569 on Medium tyres, finished just ahead of Sebastian Vettel, with Felipe Massa rounding out the top three.
In stark contrast to the opening practice session, when tyre conservation was the priority, the drivers were quick to head out on-track for the second 90 minutes of practice. With rain a threat from an early stage, plenty of long runs took place before a switch to the Medium rubber yielded the quickest times. Although the shower, which ultimately occurred an hour into the action, prevented any further lap time improvements, the track quickly dried sufficiently to allow for more slick running in the final few minutes.
Räikkönen took full advantage of the early hot and humid conditions, shaving almost half a second off his personal best morning effort and this time avoiding any technical problems. Reigning World Champion Vettel ended the session just 17 thousandths of a second behind the Finn after a phase in front, while Ferrari's Massa, who also briefly set the standard in the first dry spell, finished ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Morning pace-setter Mark Webber slipped back to fifth place this afternoon, having been unable to make a significant impression on the Option compound. The Australian wound up just ahead of Lotus's Romain Grosjean, whose E21 picked up plenty of grass during a late off-track excursion at Turn 5.
Nico Rosberg finished as the lead Mercedes in seventh place, holding off the attentions of Paul di Resta, team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 returnee Adrian Sutil. Both McLaren drivers again finished outside the top ten, with Sergio Pérez this time leading more experienced team-mate Jenson Button en route to 11th and 12th places on the timing screens.
Aided by the rain shower, Jules Bianchi was able to place his Marussia ahead of Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. A little further back, Charles Pic got the better of Caterham team-mate Giedo van der Garde, while Max Chilton completed the order.
Saturday’s third and final practice session at Sepang gets underway at 1pm local time (GMT +8) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature
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|2.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:36.588||27|
|5.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:37.026||29|
|8.||P. di Resta||Force India||01:37.571||30|
|10.||A. Sutil||Force India||01:37.788||10|
|18 Jun||Lotus sells 35 percent stake to investor|
|10 Jun||Räikkönen equals Schumacher's record|
|9 Jun||Grosjean: The weekend is far from over|
|8 Jun||Räikkönen, Ricciardo lose two grid places|
|2013 Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix|
|31 Mar||Villeneuve: Vettel's behaviour was stupid|
|29 Mar||Horner: Webber would have done the same|
|28 Mar||Video: Malaysian Grand Prix highlights|
|27 Mar||Ecclestone backs Vettel over Sepang row|
|2 Jun||Qualifying will be important says Raikkonen|
|29 May||Video: Räikkönen on life in and outside F1|
|27 May||Video of the Day: Räikkönen steals last point|
|26 May||Räikkönen criticises 'stupid' Pérez move|
|20 Jun||Video of the Day: Inside a Formula 1 car, Ep. 4|
|20 Jun||Calado conducts aero test for Force India|
|More Kimi Räikkönen photos|