Friday, 28 March 2014

Hamilton fastest for Mercedes in FP1 as Raikkonen shows encouraging signs for Ferrari

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the first free practice session for Sunday's Malaysian GrandPrix, the Mercedes driver finished the session just a tenth of a second ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who showed encouraging pace from the F14-T. Nico Rosberg was third fastest in the second Mercedes.
Jenson Button showed impressive pace in the McLaren finishing just ahead of his team mate Kevin Magnussen as the pair were fourth and fifth respectively, both drivers running with the new front nose on the M4-29. Magnussen came to a halt at the pit-lane entry as his car suffered an over heating sensor. However, acting McLaren CEO Jonathan Neale said 'It's not a major problem'  the Dane was able to continue running in the first session.
It was another disappointing start to a race weekend for the Lotus F1 Team as both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado suffered separate failures. Grosjean suffered a suspected Energy store issue while Maldonado's car appeared to suffer some sort of engine related issue as smoke was seen coming from the rear of his E22.
Jean Eric Vergne had a great morning for Toro Rosso as he finished the session in 6th place ahead of both Red Bull Racing cars. For his part, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel set the 7th fastest time despite limited running in the RB10 so the team should be encouraged by that.
Nico Hulkenberg had an impressive outing for the Sahara Force India F1 Team as he finished the morning session in 8th place ahead of the Williams Martini Racing pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas who rounded out the top ten for the Grove based squad.
It was a disappointing morning however for Sergio Perez in the second Force India as the Mexican suffered some issues with his VJM07 and as a result had a limited on track programme in Free Practice One.
Just outside the top ten was Fernando Alonso in the second Ferrari, who despite an early spin finished the session in eleventh place just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull in 12th place.
Adrian Sutil was 13th fastest for the Sauber F1 Team as the Swiss outfit continued work on the new brake by wire system. Daniil Kvyat was 14th fastest in the second Toro Rosso just over a tenth of a second ahead of Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber.
Jules Bianchi proved to be the fastest of the 'new teams' as the Marussia driver finished the session in 16th place just ahead of Caterham's Marcus Ericsson. Max Chilton was 18th in the second Marussia while Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the timesheets in 19th place.
Neither Lotus driver nor Force India's Sergio Perez managed to set a time so they will be hoping that they will be able to have a more productive time during this afternoon's Free Practice 2.
©Ben Johnston 2014

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