Prac One: Webber sets the pace

Friday 22nd March 2013

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Prac One: Webber sets the pace

Prac One: Webber sets the pace

Mark Webber led the way at a hot and humid Sepang circuit on Friday morning, edging Australian GP winner Kimi Raikkonen by 0.068s.

It was a slow start to the session as the teams all waited for another to blink. Eventually - after 30 minutes - Max Chilton ventured out and clocked a 1:42.513. McLaren joined the Marussia driver out on track with Sergio Perez going quickest while Romain Grosjean took second ahead of Jenson Button. However, halfway through FP1 they were the only four drivers on the timesheets.

Shortly after more headed out with Lewis Hamilton taking over at the front after posting a 1:38.113. The Mercedes driver had a brief exchange with Grosjean for the top spot before his team-mate Nico Rosberg entered the fray.

Rosberg's reign, though, was also short-lived as Mark Webber climbed to the top of the timesheets while his team-mate Sebastian Vettel made it a Red Bull 1-2 ahead of a Mercedes 3-4.

With the Red Bulls looking secure in first and second the battle was on for third with Fernando Alonso taking the fifth to the Mercedes drivers as he climbed to fourth place ahead Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta. Hamilton was down in eighth with 30 minutes remaining in the session.

Esteban Gutierrez brought out the first yellow flags of the session as he came up behind the slower Ferrari of Massa and balked as he braked. The Mexican rookie touched the grass and found himself backwards on the run-off area. Moments later Adrian Sutil was seem lapping with a broken front right wing courtesy of a trip over the grass.

A mixture of strategies emerged in the final 30 minutes as Kimi Raikkonen opted for used tyres, which put him up to second place, while Hamilton switched to race set-up and putting in a few 1:44s before being told by his Merc engineer that he needs to get that down to a 1:42.

The final ten minutes of FP1 saw some serious tyre issues for some of the drivers with anyone from reigning Champ Vettel complaining about "vibrations" to newcomer Giedo van der Garde pointing his out to his Caterham team. The old tyres meant that the drivers were not able to improve their times and Webber finished quickest of all, 0.068s up on Raikkonen.

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

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