Lewis Hamilton set the quickest time in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
A McLaren 1-2 was denied by Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg, who moved to second-quickest with a late flying lap.
With the threat of tropical rain set to dominate the weekend’s proceedings, it was the rookie teams that took advantage of a dry circuit and dominated the timesheets among themselves in the opening half of the session.
At about the 45-minute mark of the 90-minute session, both McLarens moved to the top of the order. It, and indeed many of its rivals, elected to run with heavier fuel loads to simulate race running for Sunday.
The team from Woking maintained its hold on the top of the timesheets until the chequere3d flag had been unfurled, but Nico Rosberg’s final lap that was just 0.185s slower than Hamilton’s saw him split the McLarens at the end of the session.
Michael Schumacher made it a Mercedes-powered foursome with the fourth-quickest time, having only posted a timed lap after the one-hour mark while the rear of his Mercedes GP W01 was being attended to by engineers.
Robert Kubica carried the momentum of his Australian GP podium into this weekend with the fifth-quickest time of the session, ahead of Mark Webber (Red Bull), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) reported problems under deceleration but was still fastest in the circuit’s middle sector; Sébastien Buemi went 10th-quickest for Toro Rosso.
En route to 11th on the timesheets, Felipe Massa made two unscathed trips through the gravel traps, but he was also joined by Pedro de la Rosa, who made the same mistake at Turn 12 in his Sauber.
The new appearance on the circuit was that of Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy in the Lotus. The local driver acquitted himself well on his debut appearance during the Grand Prix weekend, although he did have a half-spin and a trip through the grass. Nonetheless, a fastest time within 0.5s of that set by the team’s regular driver Jarno Trulli is nothing to be ashamed of at all…
2010 Malaysian GP Practice 1 Session Times:
[Original image via GP Update]