But this time it was Mark Webber rather than his team mate who led the way.
As in Melbourne the session got off to a quiet start. Once the drivers had completed they installation laps hardly anyone ventured out onto the track for the next half an hour.
After Max Chilton the second driver to set a time was Sergio Perez, the early appearance of the McLaren on track an indication of the work the team have to do to sort out the problematic MP4-28.
Jenson Button joined his team mate on the track shortly afterwards but his run was cut short by a right-rear puncture.
Within a few minutes the track was busy and the the Red Bulls took to the top of the times, Webber being the only driver to lap the circuit in less than 97 seconds.
Sebastian Vettel initially took up second behind him until Kimi Raikkonen split their pair of RB9s. The winner of the Australian Grand Prix had a disrupted start to the session – a KERS problem meant he was the last driver to set a time.
Force India also ran into trouble as Adrian Sutil experienced a front-right wing failure after running over a kerb. Later in the session his engineer attempted to warn him to stay off the kerbs, which Sutil misheard as an instruction not to use KERS.
Esteban Gutierrez had a spin in the Sauber when he came across Felipe Massa at turn, but didn’t hit anything. Fernando Alonso was the quickest of the two Ferraris in fourth place after locking up and going off at turn one.
The lap times dropped off sharply towards the end of the session as drivers increasingly struggled to post improvements on their increasingly worn tyres. Hamilton reported his rears were finished after 18 laps.
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Horner: Vettel and Webber have a “healthy rivalry”
- Webber wins Malaysian GP Driver of the Weekend
- Red Bull gives up on team orders as Vettel admits he would defy them again
- Malaysia retirement no concern for Alonso
- Massa: Red Bull’s team orders not “intelligent”
Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty