Webber dominates by 1.6 seconds in Malaysia FP1

Webber led FP1 by a huge margin

Webber led FP1 by a huge margin

Mark Webber was miles ahead of his rivals in Friday Practice 1 for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber set a 1.37.651, more than a second and a half faster than any other driver, to easily slot into first place on the leaderboards. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher were 2nd and 3rd.

Nico Hulkenberg, driving in Paul di Resta’s Force India, was 4th after a late improvement. Pastor Maldonado held his Pirellis for 19 laps to take 5th.

Ferrari had a quiet session, spending a lot of time running the cars at a fixed speed on the straights for aerodynamic testing. Felipe Massa was 6th and Fernando Alonso 9th.

Nick Heidfeld managed 7th after only setting 6 laps. After he went fastest in the session, his front right brake completely locked. The Renault driver was forced to drag his car back to the pits on 3 wheels, with a destroyed tyre, and sparks and smoke coming from under the car.

Petrov's wheel comes off in speclacular fashion

Petrov's wheel comes off in speclacular fashion

Worryingly, teammate Vitaly Petrov suffered a front left wheel failure, which caused him to spin into the Turn 9 gravel trap. Jerome D’Ambrosio suffered a similar failure on his front right, when the wheel came completely off at the final corner. The Virgin car would not complete any more miles that day.

Daniel Ricciardo took over from Sebastien Buemi, and just pipped Jaime Alguersuari to 12th.

Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel had very low-key sessions, with the McLaren and Red Bull 15th and 17th repectively. It is known that Vettel was testing a KERS unit, but it is unknown was Webber running the device. Davide Valsecchi drove in Heikki Kovalainen’s car, but was over 6 seconds off the pace.

Narain Kartikeyan’s HRT gave up on him after 10 laps, with smoke pouring out of the back.

Times from Malaysia FP1:

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1.37.651           22
 2.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1.39.316   1.665   16
 3.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1.39.791   2.140   29
 4.  Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes   1.40.377   2.726   23
 5.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1.40.443   2.792   31
 6.  Massa          Ferrari                1.40.453   2.802   22
 7.  Heidfeld       Renault                1.40.525   2.874    6
 8.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1.40.581   2.930   21
 9.  Alonso         Ferrari                1.40.601   2.950   23
10.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1.40.646   2.995   29
11.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1.40.734   3.083   21
12.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.40.748   3.097   23
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.40.770   3.119   24
14.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1.40.872   3.221   27
15.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1.40.927   3.276   16
16.  Trulli         Lotus-Renault          1.41.620   3.969   21
17.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1.41.627   3.976   18
18.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1.41.642   3.991   24
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.154   4.503   18
20.  D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.540   4.889   20
21.  Valsecchi      Lotus-Renault          1.44.054   6.403   18
22.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth           1.45.228   7.577   20
23.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1.46.267   8.616   10
24.  Petrov         Renault                1.47.932   10.281   4

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