• Malaysian Grand Prix - Free Practice One

Hamilton fastest in heat of Sepang

ESPNF1 Staff
April 2, 2010 « Alonso already thinking about title number three | »

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets after the first practice session at the Malaysian Grand Prix, as his McLaren team looks to build on Jenson Button's win in Australia last week.

Hamilton was 0.185 seconds faster than Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in second place, who was in turn ahead of Button in third. The McLarens set their times early in the session running on low fuel, while Rosberg waited for the track to rubber-in before setting his fastest lap on his final attempt.

This weekend's favourites, the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, were lower down the order in sixth and ninth respectively, after they did not attempt a low-fuel lap. Likewise the Ferrari's of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both looked fully laden, as they made several minor mistakes on their ways to the eighth and eleventh fastest times.

Michael Schumacher was fourth quickest despite sitting out the first hour of the session with a hydraulic issue. Once his car was fixed he set about clocking some fast times and looked to have the better of Rosberg until the very last minute of the session.

Vettel also appeared to have a problem with his car at one point as he complained of a lack of acceleration and said he was concerned the brakes were sticking. After his last two races were ruined by reliability problems, he will be keen to get any niggles out of the way by the end of Friday's running. Jaime Alguersuari also had issues with his Toro Rosso, after he lost power with an electrical problem and was forced to dawdle back to the pits to have it repaired.

But it wasn't just technical problems affecting the drivers. Turn 12 claimed a number of victims, as Pedro de la Rosa, Massa and Fairuz Fauzy all ran wide and over the gravel trap while fighting the rear of their cars. It was Fauzy's grand prix debut and, despite a few mistakes, he acquitted himself well. His best time was 1.3 seconds off team-mate Jarno Trulli - the fastest driver of the new teams.

Faster times are expected in the second session when all drivers will try out the soft tyres for the first time.