FP1: Verstappen P1 at a wet Sepang


Max Verstappen topped a dominant Red Bull 1-2 at a wet Sepang circuit in FP1 on Friday, a session that was delayed due to the weather and, in which, Pierre Gasly make his debut as a race driver.

“Wet and unsettled” was the apt description of the conditions at the Sepang circuit as FP1 got underway on Friday morning, or at least when it should have.

Heavy rain at 11am local time meant the session was delayed by 30 minutes, however, as happens with delays in the practice sessions, the clock counted down to leave the drivers with an hour of running.

But there wasn’t much of that.

It took a further 29 minutes before the first time of the morning was recorded, a 1:55.601 for Daniel Ricciardo on the intermediate tyres.

That at least sent other drivers scurrying out of the pits to play in the rain.

As the track marginally dried out the Red Bull drivers showed superior pace in the wet with Max Verstappen claiming P1 with a 1:48.962 while Ricciardo was second, 0.757s down.

Fernando Alonso was third for McLaren as the rain levelled the playing field. He was, however, still 1.6s down on Verstappen’s best.

Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel put in late laps to go fourth and fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll.

Toro Rosso’s newest driver Pierre Gasly was ninth quickest as he made his official debut as a race driver. His best time, a 1:52.380, was 3.4s off the pace.

Sergey Sirotkin, one of several drivers to spin or go off the track in the wet, was tenth as he replaced Nico Hulkenberg for FP1.

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’48.962 11
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’49.719 0.757 12
3 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’50.597 1.635 6
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’50.734 1.772 12
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’51.009 2.047 12
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’51.518 2.556 8
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’52.007 3.045 10
8 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’52.295 3.333 9
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Renault 1’52.380 3.418 14
10 Sergey Sirotkin Renault 1’53.521 4.559 10
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’53.625 4.663 10
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’53.771 4.809 10
13 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’53.896 4.934 6
14 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso-Renault 1’54.610 5.648 13
15 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’54.669 5.707 4
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1’55.280 6.318 10
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1’55.652 6.690 10
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’56.211 7.249 8
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas-Ferrari 1’56.339 7.377 6
20 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes