Friday, 27 March 2015

Rosberg leads the way in FP1 in Malaysia for Mercedes as Manor make on track return

(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Nico Rosberg ended the opening practice session for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix at the top of the time sheets.

The German set a benchmark time of 1m 40.124s ending the morning just 0.373s ahead of Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who ended the session just ahead of his team mate Sebastian Vettel as the Italian team continue to show that as it stands they appear to be best of the rest behind the Silver Arrows.

Following a difficult opening race weekend of 2015 in Australia, the Lotus F1 Team had a great FP1 as Romain Grosjean in the Mercedes powered E23 set the fifth fastest time ending the session 1.419s behind Rosberg.

It was a great opening session for Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard ended the morning in fifth place with a Renault powered chassis, 1.472s behind the reigning world champions and just ahead of Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo. Max Verstappen did a great job in the second Toro Rosso as the teenager ended the session in 7th place just ahead of the returning Valtteri Bottas who was 8th place, 1.758s behind Rosberg.

Daniil Kvyat was 9th fastest in the second RB11. The Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten 1.940s behind Rosberg.

Felipe Massa finished the session in eleventh place for the Williams Martini Racing Team finishing the session just ahead of the man he replaced at Williams Pastor Maldonado who was 12th fastest for the Lotus F1 Team.

Raffaele Marciello in his first outing for the Sauber F1 Team ended the session 13th place with a time of 1m 42.621s ending the morning just ahead of the returning Fernando Alonso who set a time of 1m 42.885s in his MP4-30. It was a difficult session for the Sahara Force India Formula One Team duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez as the pair ended the session in 15th and 16th place respectively.

Jenson Button ended the session in 17th place in the second McLaren ending the morning session just ahead of returning Manor F1 Team who were on track for the time since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014 as Will Stevens recorded the 18th fastest time of 1m 46.686s ending the session just ahead of team mate Roberto Merhi who recorded a time of 1m 47.683s.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton had a nightmare start to his weekend as he failed to set a lap time as his W06 came to stop on track with what the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team believe was a problem with power unit.

The second Free Practice session gets underway at 6AM (Irish time).

© Ben Johnston 2015

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