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Massa fastest in practice 1 - Malaysia


Felipe Massa dominated the opening practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, lapping just over a second clear of the rest of the field.

The Brazilian led a Ferrari one-two ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen - despite the latter stopping with a mechanical problem just after the halfway point.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton took third and fifth, split by Williams' Nico Rosberg.

World champion Raikkonen had set an early benchmark of 1:36.459, a tenth ahead of his teammate at the time, but on his next run the Finn's car suddenly slowed and came to a halt in the run-off. The reason transpired to be nothing due to reliability, but simply running out of fuel.

The Ferrari was retrieved under the red flag that was caused almost simultaneously when David Coulthard crashed.

The Red Bull ran wide through Turn 12, and tried to rejoin at Turn 13, only for its front suspension to shatter when it hit the inside kerbs, sending the car ploughing into the gravel.

It was just the start of a very bad morning for Red Bull, as Coulthard's teammate Mark Webber stopped 20 minutes later with an apparent engine failure - the Australian pulling into the support pits with smoke billowing from the rear of his car.

Massa moved to the head of the times in the final half hour. He set a 1:36.387 on his first flying lap of the run, then improved his time on each of the next five laps, eventually working down to a 1:35.744, before knocking another four tenths of a second off that mark in the final minutes.

The McLarens did not mount a serious challenge for the top spot, with Kovalainen 1.164 seconds slower than Massa by the end of the session.

Hamilton slowed and pitted due to gearbox issues, which the team were looking into after practice ended, with the Briton subsequently pushed back to fifth when Rosberg put in a fast lap on the softer compound tyres.

Fernando Alonso took sixth for Renault, while his teammate Nelson Piquet enjoyed a much better practice session than in Melbourne - completing 28 laps (the most of any driver this morning) and lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Alonso on the way to seventh.

BMW's Robert Kubica managed eighth despite not setting a flying lap until the final ten minutes, with Jenson Button (Honda) and Jarno Trulli (Toyota) completing the top ten.

Further back, Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) spun into the gravel after an apparent brake problem at the final hairpin and ended the morning in 15th place, while Force India's Adrian Sutil managed just five laps before smoke from the rear of his car signalled the end of his running.

Pos  Driver       Team                     Time               Laps
 1.  Massa        Ferrari             (B)  1:35.392           20
 2.  Raikkonen    Ferrari             (B)  1:36.459  + 1.067  8
 3.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:36.556  + 1.164  21
 4.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:36.578  + 1.186  23
 5.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:36.626  + 1.234  17
 6.  Alonso       Renault             (B)  1:37.022  + 1.630  18
 7.  Piquet       Renault             (B)  1:37.034  + 1.642  28
 8.  Kubica       BMW Sauber          (B)  1:37.218  + 1.826  9
 9.  Button       Honda               (B)  1:37.282  + 1.890  17
10.  Trulli       Toyota              (B)  1:37.540  + 2.148  24
11.  Heidfeld     BMW Sauber          (B)  1:37.649  + 2.257  17
12.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:37.649  + 2.257  18
13.  Barrichello  Honda               (B)  1:37.776  + 2.384  20
14.  Glock        Toyota              (B)  1:37.782  + 2.390  27
15.  Vettel       Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:38.219  + 2.827  26
16.  Coulthard    Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:38.232  + 2.840  7
17.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:38.707  + 3.315  12
18.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:38.798  + 3.406  25
19.  Fisichella   Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:39.046  + 3.654  21
20.  Sato         Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:40.178  + 4.786  11
21.  Davidson     Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:40.351  + 4.959  14
22.  Sutil        Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:41.269  + 5.877  5

All timing unofficial

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