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Malaysian GP 2014

MARCH 28, 2014

Practice 1 Report - Splitting Arrows

Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian GP 2014
© The Cahier Archive


Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the first free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg wound up third as Kimi Raikkonen split the Silver Arrows with his Ferrari.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Centigrade.)

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) was the first on 3.444‘‚    ‚  ‚mile (5.543-km) 15‘‚    ‚  ‚turn track.

The Pirelli dry tire options available for the weekend were the hard (orange side walls) and medium (white side walls.)

After the installation laps the drivers and teams got down to business. Valtteri Bottas set the early mark to shoot for with a lap time of 1:43.193 in his Williams.

21 minutes into the session, Alonso beat that with a 1:42.930. Then Jenson Button beat that with 1:42.531 in his McLaren. Alonso responded with a 1:41.923.

Lotus-Renault's woes continued as Romain Grosjean stopped at Turn 10 on the track 24 minutes into the session.

Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen had moved his McLaren into second place with a lap of 1:42.053 while Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg put his Mercedes into third with a 1:42.089.

38 minutes into the session, Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo had done some install laps but no timed laps. Pastor Maldonado had done just one lap in his Lotus.

Halfway through FP1 the top six were: Alonso, Magnussen, Rosberg, Button, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso.)

With 42 minutes remaining in the session, Sergio Perez had yet to set a lap time because of fuel problems with in his Force India. Vergne, meanwhile, moved into fourth place after clocking a 1:42.263.

With 41 minutes remaining in the session, Vergne shot to the top with a lap of 1:41.402 while Magnussen improved to a 1:41.693. And then Magnussen took top honors with a time of 1:41.274.

Marcus Ericsson spun his Caterham in the final turn and continued. Hamilton's engineer radioed him that lots of cars seemed to be struggling with rear end grip.

With 34 minutes remaining in the session, Magnussen's McLaren came to a halt as he was entering the pits. He had lost power and switched the engine off. He got it going for a few yards but it then stopped again. The marshals pushed it to the entrance of the pits where the McLaren crew took over the pushing duties.

With 31 minutes remaining in the session, Kim Raikkonen moved his Ferrari into the top spot with a time of 1:40.843. Moments later his teammate Alonso spun and continued at Turn 8. And then Hamilton moved into first with a lap of 1:40.723 and then a 1:40.691.

With 25 minutes remaining in the session, the top six were: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Button, Magnussen and Vergne. Vettel and Ricciardo had been out turning laps and were now seventh and 11th and 0.832 and 1.426 seconds respectively slower than Hamilton.

Everybody was using the hard compound slicks.

With 19 minutes remaining in the session, Maldonado completed his started his third lap of the session but his Lotus soon began spewing smoke and he shut off the engine and coasted into the pits where the marshals and then the mechanics pushed the car the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the mechanics had fixed Grosjean's car, and he was back out on the track for a couple of laps in the final 10 minutes of FP1.

As the session wound down the lap times were not improving as most drivers were doing long runs. Raikkonen was not one of that group, however, and he clocked a time almost as fast as his previous 1:40.843.

With 1 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton bounced off the track at Turn 11.

The top six at the end of FP1 were: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Button, Magnussen and Vergne. Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Felipe Massa (Williams) and Bottas rounded out the top 10.