Webber fastest in Malaysia FP1

Webber fastest in Malaysia FP1

22nd Mar 2013 4:00 pm

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was back in third, behind Melbourne winner Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.

Red Bull returned to the top in opening practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, as Mark Webber led the way at Sepang on Friday morning.

His team-mate Sebastian Vettel was back in third, behind Melbourne winner Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.

The Finn had not joined the track until 55 minutes into the session as his mechanics worked to replace a KERS battery.

But Raikkonen needed no time to get up to speed as he immediately put a 1m37.003s lap, 0.068 seconds down on pacesetter Webber and sufficient to split the Red Bulls.

Although Raikkonen was late out of the garage, he did not miss out on much running as it took 34 minutes for anyone to set a flying lap.

Most of the pack waited in the pits for circuit conditions to improve, then set their fastest times in a 10 minute spell of short runs before switching to heavy fuel for the rest of the morning.

Those long runs featured significant pace drop-off as tyres wore, with Lewis Hamilton in particular complaining of his Pirellis being "destroyed".

Behind Webber, Raikkonen and Vettel, Fernando Alonso put the leading Ferrari fourth, followed by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

Adrian Sutil followed up his star turn in Melbourne with sixth place, despite having to pit for repairs after damaging his Force India's wing on a kerb.

Alonso and Sutil's respective team-mates Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta were seventh and eighth, with Hamilton and Romain Grosjean completing the top 10.

Elsewhere, form appeared similar to Australia, as McLaren, Williams and Sauber were all outside the top 10. Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez committed the only significant error of the session as he went off at Turn 14.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m36.935s            15
 2.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m37.003s  + 0.068s  15
 3.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m37.104s  + 0.169s  21
 4.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m37.319s  + 0.384s  13
 5.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m37.588s  + 0.653s  19
 6.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m37.769s  + 0.834s  17
 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m37.771s  + 0.836s  15
 8.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m37.773s  + 0.838s  15
 9.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m37.840s  + 0.905s  18
10.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m37.915s  + 0.980s  17
11.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m38.173s  + 1.238s  16
12.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m38.673s  + 1.738s  16
13.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m38.830s  + 1.895s  17
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.054s  + 2.119s  17
15.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.204s  + 2.269s  16
16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m39.208s  + 2.273s  19
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m39.284s  + 2.349s  17
18.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m39.567s  + 2.632s  16
19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m40.728s  + 3.793s  17
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m40.996s  + 4.061s  14
21.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m41.163s  + 4.228s  18
22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m41.513s  + 4.578s  14

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