Webber dominates eventful practice

Mark Webber bounced back from his disappointing Australian Grand Prix to dominate an eventful opening practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday morning

Webber dominates eventful practice

Just as he did in Melbourne, the Australian set the pace in P1, but unlike there, he was never challenged for supremacy during the first 90 minutes in Sepang, his Red Bull some 1.665s faster than Lewis Hamilton managed in the McLaren. And as if to make a point, Webber's best, a 1m37.651s, came with less than ten minutes to remaining. He followed it up with another lap within two tenths of his best, both more than a second faster than anyone else managed.

Michael Schumacher moved up to third fastest in the final minutes of the session for Mercedes ahead of an impressive Nico Hulkenberg in his one and only session of the weekend for Force India.

Pastor Maldonado was a strong fifth fastest for Williams, setting his best time quite late into an extraordinary 19-lap run on his primary Pirellis.

Felipe Massa, having spent much of the 90 minutes driving in and out of the pits without setting a time, as he and Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso concentrated on aerodynamic evaluation tests, finally moved up to sixth.

Renault looked strong initially, with Nick Heidfeld setting the early pace, before what looked like a dramatic front-right brake failure saw his wheel remain locked on. The German had only completed six laps at the time, and his time of 1m40.525s was still good enough for seventh.

But the team's problems continued and later Vitaly Petrov, one of the stars of Australia, suffered a catastrophic problem under braking for Turn 9 relating to his left-front wheel - sending him flying into the gravel. It's unclear whether the two issues were related.

The Russian, who ended the session last, was not the only one to have a high-speed scare as Virgin rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio suffered a front-left suspension failure under braking for the final corner, the system exploding in a similar style to that of Sebastian Buemi's STR at China last year.

Tyre wear was also more of an issue than it had been in Australia, with significant marbling offline. Turn 8 in particular caught a few drivers out as Hamilton, Fernando Alonso - who ended the session ninth behind Rubens Barrichello, and Sergio Perez all ran wide there.

Nico Rosberg meanwhile rounded out the top ten.

What of Australia's dominant winner and the world champion Sebastian Vettel? He was 17th, behind Jarno Trulli's Lotus, after an usually quiet session. Using the Red Bull KERS, he remained under the radar for nearly the entire 90 minutes but looked like he was just about to turn up the wick when d'Ambrosio's Virgin careered into the gravel - effectively ending the session.


Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1m37.651s            22
 2.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1m39.316s  + 1.665   16
 3.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1m39.791s  + 2.140   29
 4.  Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes   1m40.377s  + 2.726   23
 5.  Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m40.443s  + 2.792   31
 6.  Massa          Ferrari                1m40.453s  + 2.802   22
 7.  Heidfeld       Renault                1m40.525s  + 2.874    6
 8.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m40.581s  + 2.930   21
 9.  Alonso         Ferrari                1m40.601s  + 2.950   23
10.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1m40.646s  + 2.995   29
11.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m40.734s  + 3.083   21
12.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m40.748s  + 3.097   23
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m40.770s  + 3.119   24
14.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.872s  + 3.221   27
15.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m40.927s  + 3.276   16
16.  Trulli         Lotus-Renault          1m41.620s  + 3.969   21
17.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1m41.627s  + 3.976   18
18.  Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m41.642s  + 3.991   24
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1m42.154s  + 4.503   18
20.  d'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m42.540s  + 4.889   20
21.  Valsecchi      Lotus-Renault          1m44.054s  + 6.403   18
22.  Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth           1m45.228s  + 7.577   20
23.  Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m46.267s  + 8.616   10
24.  Petrov         Renault                1m47.932s  + 10.281   4

All Timing Unofficial
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