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F1: Hamilton grabs the initiative in Malaysia practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets for McLaren in both sessions of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix today after clocking a time nearly three-tenths of a second in advance of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton during Friday pactice at Sepang
Lewis Hamilton during Friday pactice at Sepang

The German has proved himself to be a single-lap hotshot so far this season, putting his car on pole for both the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix. But a blast on low fuel helped Hamilton set the pace in the faster afternoon outing.


Looking best behind them were Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button, the two Mercedes GP drivers and Renault’s Robert Kubica following up his podium in Melbourne by knocking on the door of the major players again. Button was showing some discomfort with his car’s set-up.

Neither Ferrari driver appeared above seventh place in either session with Felipe Massa consistently behind Fernando Alonso.

But, since the pair currently occupy the two top spots in the drivers’ championship standings, and neither has particularly felt the need to showboat in practice so far this year with Ferrari preferring to keep its cards close to its chest on Fridays, it is unlikely to be much of an impediment to their race weekend.

Mark Webber suffered an engine problem in the second session that left his car parked in the gravel and which raised yet another question over his team’s reliability – an issue that is already blighting both drivers’ chances of scoring high. Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari also suffered reliability problems.

Williams also had a rough day of it, seemingly unable to find enough pace even to distinguish them from the new teams. On the other hand Lotus appears set for another successful weekend – particularly important for the team’s Malaysian owners and backers.

In the first session Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta replaced race driver Vitantonio Liuzzi to continue his campaign to familiarise himself with Formula One’s cars and circuits.

Sepang second practice times

  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:34.175
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:34.441
  3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:34.443
  4. Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:34.538
  5. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:34.674
  6. Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:35.148
  7. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:35.581
  8. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:35.660
  9. Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:35.872
  10. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:35.957
  11. Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:36.018
  12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:36.221
  13. Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:36.325
  14. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:36.325
  15. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.602
  16. Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:36.813
  17. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:37.415
  18. Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:38.454
  19. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:38.530
  20. Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:38.786
  21. Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:39.061
  22. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:39.158
  23. Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:41.084
  24. Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:41.481

Sepang first practice times

  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:34.921
  2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:35.106
  3. Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:35.207
  4. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:35.225
  5. Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:35.402
  6. Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:35.479
  7. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:35.955
  8. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:35.959
  9. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:36.043
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:36.100
  11. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.451
  12. Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:36.503
  13. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:36.645
  14. Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:36.712
  15. Paul Di Resta, Force India: 1:36.891
  16. Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:36.899
  17. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:37.802
  18. Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:38.278
  19. Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:39.460
  20. Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:39.755
  21. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:40.159
  22. Fairuz Fauzy, Lotus: 1:40.721
  23. Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:41.832
  24. Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:41.966


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