Mark Webber beat Australian Grand Prix-winner Kimi Raikkonen to the top of the timesheet in the first practice session ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull Racing driver set his time early in the session, with Sebastian Vettel just 0.169 adrift of his team-mate in second place.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, was stuck in the Lotus garage for most of the first hour of the session. After his installation lap the Finn returned to pitlane and climbed out of his car as his team began to work on his E21 to replace a KERS battery due to a sensor problem.
When the championship leader returned to the track he immediately jumped ahead of Vettel to claim the morning’s second fastest time with his first flying lap.
Thereafter there was little movement at the top of the timesheet. Vettel held on to third behind Raikkonen and Webber and only Fernando Alonso improved, delivering a lap of 1:39.319, to finish in fourth place just under four tenths behind Webber.
Nico Rosberg took fifth place, while Adrian Sutil again looked good in the Force India, the German landing the session’s sixth-fastest time eight tenths adrift of the pace-setting Red Bull.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was seventh and the top 10 was completed by Paul Di Resta, Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean respectively.
The only drama in an otherwise calm session came with Esteban Gutierrez was forced to brake hard when he came up behind a much slower Ferrari. The Sauber driver was pitched into a spin but with plenty of run-off available there were no repercussions for the Mexican and he continued on his way, eventually landing the day’s 15th-fastest time, a tenth off 14th-placed team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Times
1. Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:36.935s
2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:37.003s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:37.104s
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.319s
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.588s
6. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:37.769s
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.771s
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1:37.773s
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.840s
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:37.915s
11. Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.173s
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:38.673s
13. Sergio Perez McLaren 1:38.830s
14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:39.054s
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:39.204s
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.208s
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:39.284s
18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:39.567s
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:40.728s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:40.996s
21. Charles Pic Caterham 1:41.163s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1:31.513s