Daily Archives: March 22, 2013

Malaysian Grand Prix practice: Rain threatens proceedings as Raikkonen continues to lead

Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets for today’s practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but the local weather is already causing a storm. After FP2 was disrupted by heavy rain, there are fears that the local thunderstorms may hit the circuit during tomorrow’s qualifying and the race.

Regardless, the field is tightly bunched at the front at the moment. Here’s what happened today:

First practice

It was another slow start to this weekend’s racing, as it took until the half hour mark for anyone to set a lap time.

Australian GP race winner Kimi Raikkonen had a delayed start to his weekend – a KERS fault meant that he was stuck in the pits longer than anyone else. He eventually finished the session 0.06 seconds off the leader.

The Red Bulls continued to demonstrate their excellent one-lap pace, with both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel leading FP1 at certain points. It was Webber who was to set the fastest time, a 1:36.935 leaving him over a tenth of a second ahead of his teammate.

Lap times dropped off towards the end of the session, as it became clear that the hard tyres were only lasting around 20 laps.

The only major drama was when Esteban Gutierrez spun off, carrying too much speed into Turn 14.

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1:36.935            15
 2.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1:37.003  + 0.068s  15
 3.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1:37.104  + 0.169s  21
 4.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1:37.319  + 0.384s  13
 5.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1:37.588  + 0.653s  19
 6.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1:37.769  + 0.834s  17
 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1:37.771  + 0.836s  15
 8.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1:37.773  + 0.838s  15
 9.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1:37.840  + 0.905s  18
10.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1:37.915  + 0.980s  17
11.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1:38.173  + 1.238s  16
12.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1:38.673  + 1.738s  16
13.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1:38.830  + 1.895s  17
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1:39.054  + 2.119s  17
15.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:39.204  + 2.269s  16
16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1:39.208  + 2.273s  19
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:39.284  + 2.349s  17
18.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:39.567  + 2.632s  16
19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1:40.728  + 3.793s  17
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1:40.996  + 4.061s  14
21.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1:41.163  + 4.228s  18
22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1:41.513  + 4.578s  14

Second practice

It was Raikkonen who set the fastest time in FP2 on the medium tyres, but by only 0.4 seconds compared to Webber’s time in FP1.

Rain was expected from the off, so many drivers took to the track immediately in order to maximise running. As expected, the rain fell early on, and it increased in strength at around the halfway mark. A spin by Nico Hulkenberg on his in lap demonstrated how treacherous the conditions were.

Drivers soon tip-toed out onto the track soon after, but spins marred several drivers’ sessions. Sergio Perez, Giedo van der Garde and Romain Grosjean all had off-track excursions on the intermediate tyres.

The track dried out sufficiently for slicks with 10 minutes to go, but nobody was able to improve on Raikkonen’s earlier time. Sebastian Vettel was within 0.016 seconds of the Lotus, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso 3rd and 4th.

The McLarens showed no signs of improvement from Australia, finishing Friday 11th and 12th. Further back, Jules Bianchi was able to set a lap 0.152 seconds faster than the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Pos Driver                Team                    Time       Gap      Laps
 1. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault           1:36.569            28
 2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:36.588  + 0.019s  27
 3. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:36.661  + 0.092s  33
 4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:36.985  + 0.416s  23
 5. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:37.026  + 0.457s  29
 6. Romain Grosjean       Lotus Renault           1:37.206  + 0.637s  26
 7. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:37.448  + 0.879s  32
 8. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:37.571  + 1.002s  30
 9. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                1:37.574  + 1.005s  32
10. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:37.788  + 1.219s  10
11. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes        1:37.838  + 1.269s  21
12. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:37.865  + 1.296s  29
13. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari          1:38.068  + 1.499s  31
14. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari          1:38.645  + 2.076s  23
15. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:38.738  + 2.169s  31
16. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault        1:38.801  + 2.232s  27
17. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:38.904  + 2.335s  31
18. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth       1:39.508  + 2.939s  30
19. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault        1:39.660  + 3.091s  28
20. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault        1:40.757  + 4.188s  29
21. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault        1:40.768  + 4.199s  32
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth       1:41.438  + 4.869s  23
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