Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in Sepang

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix first practice

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Mercedes began the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend as they ended the first race, by setting the pace around the Sepang International Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton’s lap of 1’40.691 was the fastest during the first session despite the Mercedes driver giving away some time in the middle of the lap.

He was split from team mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the times by Kimi Raikkonen, who was second fastest for Ferrari. The McLaren pair completed the top five.

But the Malaysian heat took its toll on the teams, especially Lotus, who suffered another desperate day. Romain Grosjean’s car came to a stop halfway around his second lap early in the session, and he didn’t return to the track until the final ten minutes.

Pastor Maldonado had also hit trouble on his second lap a few minutes earlier. His car was visibly smoking on the back straight, and though Maldonado was advised to bring it to a stop he managed to coast far enough into the pit entrance that the marshals were able to push him the rest of the way so his team could recover him.

But Lotus weren’t the only team to hit trouble. Kevin Magnussen had a similar experience to Maldonado at the pit entry when his McLaren went into ‘recovery mode’ shortly after he set the fastest time during the second half of the session.

Sergio Perez also failed to set a time after being sidelined by a fuel pressure problem following his first run of the day.

The tricky handling of the new cars also caught out several drivers. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had similar spins at turn eight, the rear of their cars snapping away as they got onto the power.

Adrian Sutil had a strange spin on his way into the pits early on the session. Both Sauber drivers appeared to struggle with the C33’s handling, particularly in the quicker corners.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’40.691 19
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’40.843 0.152 20
3 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.028 0.337 19
4 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.111 0.420 20
5 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.274 0.583 18
6 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’41.402 0.711 15
7 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’41.523 0.832 9
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’41.642 0.951 19
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’41.686 0.995 23
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’41.830 1.139 22
11 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.923 1.232 14
12 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’42.117 1.426 20
13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.365 1.674 21
14 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’42.869 2.178 21
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.904 2.213 23
16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’43.825 3.134 18
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’45.775 5.084 24
18 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’46.911 6.220 10
19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’51.180 10.489 10
20 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2
21 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2
22 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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15 comments on Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in Sepang

  1. Kanj said on 28th March 2014, 3:41

    Kimi was nowhere to be found earlier while Alo was beasting. As soon as the dust kick in and became oversteery, Kimi came b alive while Alo spun.

    Gonna be a headache for team in term of choosing the right path for car development when their drivers are so polar opposite from each other on and off track.

    Good fun for fans though.

  2. Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 28th March 2014, 3:50

    Mercs are going to blow everyone away! :(

  3. Expected from Merc and Lewis. My money is still on Rosberg for the win again this weekend.

  4. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 28th March 2014, 4:15

    Really sad to see such a meltdown (nearly literally too) by Lotus. Guess it’s a glaringly obvious statement that their money problems during development and top key personnel losses haven’t done them any good.

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 28th March 2014, 5:33

    Not too many laps by any of the drivers, looks like they don’t want to stress their engines.

    • uan (@uan) said on 28th March 2014, 5:43

      @adrianmorse

      so true. It’s ironic, each car is given an extra set of tires in FP1 to encourage more running, but because they have so few engines (or PUs) this year and reliability is such a huge issue, teams are running less. Engine limited, not tire limited as in the past.

      Teams should be given 1 or 2 engines that they can use for FP on Friday’s, that don’t count against their total.

  6. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 28th March 2014, 5:51

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed watching a free practice session this much. Every time a car was on screen, it was sliding, locking wheels, and generally doing things we haven’t seen in the past few years. Let’s hope this is due to the new rules instead of just a slippery track.

  7. Gdon (@gdon) said on 28th March 2014, 8:01

    Mercedes began the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend as they ended the first race, by setting the pace around the Sepang International Circuit.

    OOPs first pratice it should say.

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