Did we learn that much?  Are we ever going to learn that much when, through varying fuel loads and tyre degradation, a car can be running 10 seconds a lap slower at the end of practice than at the start?

  • Perhaps not, but it seems safe to say that Red Bull are in decent shape, even if their KERS still isn’t quite there (did it work?  “Most of the time…” said the day’s fastest driver).  Mark Webber set the pace in both sessions today, 1.6 seconds quicker than anyone in the morning.  In the afternoon, a pair of Red Bulls and a pair of McLarens were within 0.2 seconds of each other, but you can’t escape the feeling that there’s more to come from Webber and Sebastian Vettel.  Neither can Lewis Hamilton.
  • 3rd in prac 1 and 5th in prac 2 for some old German bloke, amidst much cautious optimism at Mercedes.  Schumacher and Rosberg both feel they’ve made a step forward this weekend, both drove well today and both are in the hunt for a decent haul of points on Sunday.  Best of the rest?
  • Maybe, because the Ferraris continue to look nothing like as rapid as they did in pre-season.  Massa outpaced Alonso in both sessions and got to within 0.001 seconds of Schumi in the afternoon, but that still left him over a second adrift of the battle at the front.  Too early for panic at Maranello?  It’s never too early for panic at Maranello.
  • It would seem to be far too early for panic at Lotus, though.  Winter promises to threaten the midfield outfits continue to ring false like so many broken doorbells, with Trulli 20th and Kovalainen a broken-down 23rd in the afternoon.  The team maintain that glitches are hiding their true pace, but it’s quite a glitch that sees your lead car some 5 seconds a lap off the pace.
  • The lesser spotted HRT completed a full day of running.  Narain Karthikeyan was within 107% of the fastest lap and will start the race if he performs to that level in Q1 tomorrow.  Tonio Liuzzi wasn’t, though this had at least something to do with his car’s ignition switching itself off as he drove over a kerb, the same fault that sidelined him on Saturday morning in Melbourne.
  • Pirelli are tipping a 3-stopper again this weekend.  Pastor Maldonado coaxed a set of soft tyres into doing 19 laps this morning, so there could yet be scope for someone to Perez their way into a single stop race.  Then again, that same Pastor Maldonado crashed while trying to enter the pit lane in the afternoon, so as a barometer of performance he’s perhaps not the most reliable figure.  For the majority, it seems that the softer compound runs for 7 or 8 laps and then loses all of its rear grip at once.  In the heat of Sepang, tyre management will be one of the keys to the rest of the weekend.
  • Don’t fall over near a moving Formula 1 car.

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