Massa fastest in practice 1 - Malaysia
|By Matt Beer||Friday, March 21st 2008, 03:36 GMT|
Felipe Massa dominated the opening practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, lapping just over a second clear of the rest of the field.
The Brazilian led a Ferrari one-two ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen - despite the latter stopping with a mechanical problem just after the halfway point.
McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton took third and fifth, split by Williams' Nico Rosberg.
World champion Raikkonen had set an early benchmark of 1:36.459, a tenth ahead of his teammate at the time, but on his next run the Finn's car suddenly slowed and came to a halt in the run-off. The reason transpired to be nothing due to reliability, but simply running out of fuel.
The Ferrari was retrieved under the red flag that was caused almost simultaneously when David Coulthard crashed.
The Red Bull ran wide through Turn 12, and tried to rejoin at Turn 13, only for its front suspension to shatter when it hit the inside kerbs, sending the car ploughing into the gravel.
It was just the start of a very bad morning for Red Bull, as Coulthard's teammate Mark Webber stopped 20 minutes later with an apparent engine failure - the Australian pulling into the support pits with smoke billowing from the rear of his car.
Massa moved to the head of the times in the final half hour. He set a 1:36.387 on his first flying lap of the run, then improved his time on each of the next five laps, eventually working down to a 1:35.744, before knocking another four tenths of a second off that mark in the final minutes.
The McLarens did not mount a serious challenge for the top spot, with Kovalainen 1.164 seconds slower than Massa by the end of the session.
Hamilton slowed and pitted due to gearbox issues, which the team were looking into after practice ended, with the Briton subsequently pushed back to fifth when Rosberg put in a fast lap on the softer compound tyres.
Fernando Alonso took sixth for Renault, while his teammate Nelson Piquet enjoyed a much better practice session than in Melbourne - completing 28 laps (the most of any driver this morning) and lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Alonso on the way to seventh.
BMW's Robert Kubica managed eighth despite not setting a flying lap until the final ten minutes, with Jenson Button (Honda) and Jarno Trulli (Toyota) completing the top ten.
Further back, Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) spun into the gravel after an apparent brake problem at the final hairpin and ended the morning in 15th place, while Force India's Adrian Sutil managed just five laps before smoke from the rear of his car signalled the end of his running.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:35.392 20 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:36.459 + 1.067 8 3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:36.556 + 1.164 21 4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.578 + 1.186 23 5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:36.626 + 1.234 17 6. Alonso Renault (B) 1:37.022 + 1.630 18 7. Piquet Renault (B) 1:37.034 + 1.642 28 8. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:37.218 + 1.826 9 9. Button Honda (B) 1:37.282 + 1.890 17 10. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:37.540 + 2.148 24 11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:37.649 + 2.257 17 12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:37.649 + 2.257 18 13. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:37.776 + 2.384 20 14. Glock Toyota (B) 1:37.782 + 2.390 27 15. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:38.219 + 2.827 26 16. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:38.232 + 2.840 7 17. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:38.707 + 3.315 12 18. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:38.798 + 3.406 25 19. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:39.046 + 3.654 21 20. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:40.178 + 4.786 11 21. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:40.351 + 4.959 14 22. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:41.269 + 5.877 5 All timing unofficial