First Hamilton and then Rosberg led timings in Malaysian GP practice sessions
SEPANG — Mercedes underlined their superiority in the new Formula One season as first Lewis Hamilton and then Nico Rosberg led the timings in the Malaysian Grand Prix practice sessions yesterday.
Hamilton topped the opening session with his teammate third, and it was Rosberg, winner of the seasonopener in Australia, who took control in the later runout.
Both drivers carried the message, “#TributeToMH370”, on their cars as Malaysia mourns 239 people presumed dead in a disappeared passenger jet. Tomorrow’s race will be preceded by a minute’s silence.
While yesterday’s practice has little bearing on the race weekend, Mercedes will be pleased to have extended the dominance they showed in Australia — although it was tight at the top in the second session.
Rosberg’s time of 1 min 39,909 was three hundredths ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, with world champion Sebastian Vettel improving to within six hundredths for third spot. The top 11 drivers were all within one second of each other.
Hamilton, who veered off the track in both outings, was fourth in the second session ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Williams’s Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button of McLaren.
Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado and Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi both sat out the second session for repairs as their dismal start to the season continued. And Lotus had another setback when Romain Grosjean had to pit early for repairs before returning late on — when he suffered another problem with his gears and had to retire.
JeanEric Vergne spun and Nico Hulkenberg, who went fastest early in the second session, ran wide into the gravel as handling problems persisted with this year’s new Formula One cars.
“It’s really not handling well,” grumbled Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen, classified second for McLaren in his debut F1 race two weeks ago, while Raikkonen later complained, “My rear tyres are sliding around”.
Rosberg hit the front about a third of the way into the 90minute run and he was later joined by Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as Mercedes showed their superior adaptation to this year’s wide technical changes. But Raikkonen then divided the teammates as he went second and Vettel also timed quicker than Hamilton as the Red Bull of the fourtime world champion, who lasted only a few laps in Melbourne, showed encouraging signs.
Ricciardo is fighting his disqualification from second in Melbourne over fuel irregulari ties, and his session ended when he ran wide and took an extended trip through the trackside gravel and grass. — SapaAFP.
1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:39.909, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari 1:39.944, 3. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing 1:39.970, 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:40.051, 5. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari 1:40.103, 6. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:40.112, 7. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing 1:40.276, 8. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:40.628, 9. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:40.638, 10. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:40.691
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:40.691, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari 1:40.843, 3. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:41.028, 4. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:41.111, 5. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes 1:41.274, 6. JeanEric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:41.402, 7. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing 1:41.523, 8. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:41.642, 9. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:41.686, 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:41.830. JOHANNESBURG — Top South African road runner René Kalmer is confident she is in top shape ahead of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, today.
“Last year was a tough year for me. I battled with injuries throughout,” she said, after picking up a calf injury in the Boston Marathon last April.
“Fortunately, things got better for me in the second half of the year, where I started improving on my performances.”
She regained her form and went on to win the SA Half Marathon Championships. She finished second at the Two Oceans Half Marathon and in the Women’s 10 km Grand Prix series.
“This year has been good so far — my training has been going well and I’m in good shape.”
The Olympian, who will be competing in her third World Half Marathon Championships, said she looked to improve on past performances after finishing 14th in the United Kingdom in 2009, in a personal best time of one hour, 10 minutes and 37 seconds (1:10:37). In Bulgaria in 2012, she came 16th in 1:13:16.
“I’m looking forward to the race. It has been my focus for the first part of the year.
“I hope to better my 2009 position, as well as my personal best time.”
Kalmer was named as part of the sixperson team to represent South Africa at the international showpiece.
Stephen Mokoka, Lusapho April and Elroy Gelant will line up in the men’s race, while SA marathon champion Cornelia Joubert and Jenna Challenor will join Kalmer in the women’s race.
Challenor finished third at last year’s SA half marathon championships in East London, clocking a personal best of 1:16:21.
Mokoka, who is the best challenger in the men’s team, holds a personal best of 1:00:57 in the half marathon. He posted the best finish by a South African at the 2009 and 2012 championships, finishing in eighth position in both events.
Kalmer said the event presented a difficult assignment for the South African team.
“I’m looking forward to competing with such a worldclass field, which includes the Kenyans and Ethiopians.
“We are an inexperienced team, and it’s important for us not to get stressed out and nervous, but rather focus on gaining the experience for future events and improve on our times.” — Sapa.
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP during yesterday’s practice session for this weekend’s Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was pleased with his performance at yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix practice session.