Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the times in a wet first practice ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Dutchman was seven-tenths faster than his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
The session was delayed by half an hour as heavy rain poured down, but once the session got underway Verstappen soon set the pace. Red Bull have thrived in wet conditions this season, once again Verstappen proved that by going over one and half seconds faster than Fernando Alonso.
It was a good result for the Spaniard who only managed six laps, three of which were while running the halo, to set his fastest time. But that wasn’t enough to match the Ferrari’s who set their best times in the final minute of the session.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was one second and seventh tenths down on Verstappen’s time. Both Ferrari drivers had minor off-track moments without damaging their cars.
But the German was half a second up on championship rival Lewis Hamilton in sixth. While Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was seventh.
Williams Lance Stroll edged out Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who is making his debut this weekend. Neither of Toro Rosso’s ‘race drivers’ ran in the session, so that put him over two tenths faster than his team-mate Sean Gelael in sixteenth.
It was a good morning for both the Toro Rosso juniors, they didn’t make many mistakes. Sauber was another team who ran a reserve driver with Charles Leclerc in for Marcus Ericsson, the Monacan was ahead of team-mate Pascal Wehrlein.
Renault was also running their reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian suffered a half spin at Turn Two on his way to tenth fastest, just ahead of his team-mate Jolyon Palmer.
But for Stroll’s team-mate Felipe Massa, it was a difficult morning he only managed three laps before a suspected hydraulics failure.
Also struggling were the Force India’s who couldn’t set a competitive lap time, with Esteban Ocon five seconds off the pace in thirteenth and team-mate Sergio Perez fifteenth.
While the Haas’s rounded off the times with Romain Grosjean ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, with Massa failing to set a time.