• Malaysian GP - FP2

Hamilton leads Raikkonen in first practice

Laurence Edmondson in Sepang
March 28, 2014
Lewis Hamilton returned from his Australia disappointment in style © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of the Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who managed to split the two Mercedes at the top of the timesheets.

After struggling with set-up issues throughout the Australian Grand Prix weekend two weeks ago, Raikkonen got within 0.152s of Hamilton during first practice and was 0.185s ahead of Nico Rosberg. Jenson Button was fourth fastest and 0.420s off Hamilton with Kevin Magnussen fifth.

The session saw a number of drivers struggling for grip, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both spinning at Turn 8 after running a little wide. Hamilton also left the track in the closing stages of the session, locking up into Turn 11 and running wide and into the gravel.

Reliability looks set to be a factor again this weekend, with a number of cars struggling in the heat of Sepang. Both Lotuses had problems on track, with Romain Grosjean coming to a halt on his third lap and Pastor Maldonado limping back to the pits with smoke coming from the rear on his second run. Magnussen also lost power in his McLaren on the return to the pits after one of his runs and required a helping hand from the marshals to make it back to the pit lane.

Although he did not stop on track, Sebastian Vettel completed just nine laps in his Red Bull over the course of the session. With 20 minutes remaining he was out of the car for good, with the team hoping to address the issue before second practice. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo picked up some of the slack with 20 laps in total, but was 12th fastest by the end of the session behind Alonso in 11th.

Jean-Eric Vergne again showed impressive pace in the Toro Rosso and was the highest-placed Renault-powered car at the end of the 90 minutes.

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