Lewis Hamilton picked up in Malaysia where he left off in Australia by setting the pace in first practice at Sepang. The Briton took pole position for the season opener only to be sidelined by reliability problems but Mercedes remain the team to beat on outright pace if this morning is anything to go by.
The Brackley squad kept their powder relatively dry in the opening half hour while Fernando Alonso set the fastest time on the extra set of prime tyres provided by Pirelli. After a brief lull, Kevin Magnussen rose to the top of the timesheets but his McLaren soon slowed with a sensor indicating a rise in temperatures at the rear of the car, turning the power unit down.
By the time the Dane was able to re-join, his time had been overhauled by Kimi Raikkonen who showed his best form since joining Ferrari. The two-time Sepang winner set a 1:40.843 which eventually secured him second place overall, Hamilton going a tenth faster to edge him out. Lewis’ session ended with a tricky moment at turn eleven after running on the kerbs before turning in but after a trip through the gravel, he cruised back to the pits.
Behind Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg took third with Jenson Button sneaking ahead of his teammate for fourth. Jean-Eric Vergne pipped Sebastian Vettel for sixth to finish as the top Renault-powered runner while Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams duo, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, completing the top ten. Fernando Alonso was eleventh fastest in the second Ferrari on a morning which saw him spin at turn eight. He wasn’t alone though with Massa making the same mistake while Sauber’s Adrian Sutil managed a pirouette on his way into the pit lane.
Lotus’ miserable start to 2014 continued with both cars breaking down during the first session. Romain Grosjean went out for an installation lap early on but ground to a halt at turn ten while Pastor Maldonado’s E22 coasted back to the pits leaving plumes of smoke in its wake, neither having set a time. Grosjean did at least return in the closing stages for another installation lap but the Enstone team will be looking to make up for lost time this afternoon.
|2014 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULT|
|1||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||HARD||1:40.691|
|2||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||HARD||1:40.843|
|3||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.028|
|4||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.111|
|5||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.274|
|6||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||HARD||1:41.402|
|7||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||HARD||1:41.523|
|8||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.642|
|9||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.686|
|10||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||HARD||1:41.830|
|11||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||HARD||1:41.923|
|12||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||HARD||1:21.117|
|13||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||HARD||1:42.365|
|14||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||HARD||1:42.869|
|15||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||HARD||1:42.904|
|16||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||HARD||1:43.825|
|17||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||HARD||1:45.775|
|18||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||HARD||1:46.911|
|19||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||HARD||1:51.180|
|20||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||HARD||NO TIME|
|21||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||HARD||NO TIME|
|22||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||HARD||NO TIME|