Sepang International Circuit, 2015

Rosberg leads the way as Hamilton fails to set at time

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix first practice

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Sepang International Circuit, 2015Nico Rosberg led the first practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix but team mate Lewis Hamilton’s weekend got off to a bad start as he failed to set a time.

Hamilton was on his fourth lap when his car came to a stop at turn nine. The team explained to Hamilton on the radio they were concerned about the life of his power unit, which still needs to be used in upcoming races.

While one Mercedes was worked on in the garage, Rosberg’s set a session-leading lap time of 1’40.124, half a second quicker than the team managed in first practice last year.

Sebastian Vettel made a late start to the weekend after problems in his Ferrari. But after taking to the track in the second half of the session he and Kimi Raikkonen took up the ‘best of the rest’ position behind the Mercedes.

The two Ferrari drivers waited until the final moments of the session to unleash the best from their cars, and Raikkonen got within 0.4s of Rosberg’s time.

On his first lap of the session Carlos Sainz Jnr reported a considerable improvement in drive-ability from his Renault power unit. He ended up quickest of the Renault-powered drivers ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and the second Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso was 14th on in his first practice session at the wheel of the McLaren, which was the first time he’d driven the car since his February testing crash. He ended the session behind Ferrari development driver Raffaele Marciello, who was at the wheel of Felipe Nasr’s Sauber.

Manor finally began their participation in the 2015 championship as both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi set times in the MR04. Stevens’ best effort of 1’46.686 was three-and-a-half seconds off the next-slowest car but, crucially, within 107% of Rosberg’s time, an early sign the team has realistic chances of qualifying for Sunday’s race.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.12420
27Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.4970.37317
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’40.9850.86113
48Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’41.5431.41914
555Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’41.5961.47226
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’41.7871.66315
733Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’41.8031.67923
877Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’41.8821.75823
926Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’42.0551.93118
109Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’42.0641.94016
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’42.1031.97923
1213Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’42.5672.44319
1336Raffaele MarcielloSauber-Ferrari1’42.6212.49713
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’42.8852.76120
1527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’42.8932.76913
1611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’43.0542.93015
1722Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’43.1002.97619
1828Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’46.6866.5628
1998Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’47.6837.5598
2144Lewis HamiltonMercedes4

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Rosberg leads the way as Hamilton fails to set at time”

  1. Interesting session! Not expecting Ferrari to be that close, but realistically speaking Mercedes can still walk this victory easily this weekend. I hope Ferrari can catch the development rate midway this season

    1. MERC is definitely sandbagging so it´ll look more interesting for the viewers.

      I´m sort of getting used to seeing Sainz beating Verstapen.

      ALO up on BUT for first practice, that seems encouraging. I hope Honda made an improvement. Ferrari is looking very good.

  2. Wow Kimi… trying not to get my hopes up

    1. He was 2nd in last year’s friday practice, too (and rubbish after that …)

      1. Last year Kimi was 0.5s faster than Alonso up until Saturday Q1, but then the rain fell and Alonso suddenly laughing in the garage.

        1. Considering that he was virtually never faster on Saturday and/or Sunday, in Malaysia or elsewhere, I’m rather inclined to classify Räikkönen being faster on Friday as the actual anomaly.

  3. Kimi’s time was later in season with some more rubber on, if on same fuel loads i am sure Rosberg could improve that time about 0.5 at least.

  4. On the brightside McLaren with Alonso were faster than Force India in FP1.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      27th March 2015, 4:45

      and both Manors. #glasshalffull

  5. Go McLaren and Go Manor! Great progress from both!

  6. That’s one slow Manor. Have Manor gone to a coma and woken up in Barcelona?

    Ah, yes, they did :)

    1. I’m not sure what you mean, but that is very unfortunate wording mate.

  7. Mclaren didn’t look too bad.
    Maybe Honda finally fixed all the reliability issues on this safety mode of the PU and we’ll see some aero upgrades now that they can test it.

  8. Hey Williams?! Push it! push it!

    1. A la la la la long

  9. Very strange to see the gaps of Kimi and Vettel from the fastest time set by Mercedes in 1st and 2nd practice sessions. Kimi’s car was 0.373 seconds slower than the fastest Mercedes on both sessions. Vettel was 0.862 and 0.861 seconds slower in FP1 and FP2 respectively than the fastest times set by Mercedes.

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