Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari one-two in second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, six tenths clear of team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, as the session was ended early by a heavy crash involving Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
Vettel’s performance run on the Pirelli supersoft compound tyres netted a best time of 1:31.261. Team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was second, 0.604 seconds adrift, while Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull Racing, just over two tenths further back.
It was a trickier session for championship leader Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Both has off-track excursions that led to Hamilton ending the day in sixth place with Bottas just over a tenth of a second further back in seventh place.
There was a more destructive excursion late in the session, with Romain Grosjean crashing heavily.
A dislodged drain cover between Turns 12 and 13 sliced through the Frenchman’s right rear tyre and he careered off track and into the barriers. The Haas driver emerged unscathed from the crash. The session was immediately red-flagged, while an FIA inspection took place and it was decided that no further running would take place.
During the session, Max Verstappen was the first driver to run a qualiuging simulation, using the supersoft Pirellis to rise to P2 behind soft-tyre pacesetter Vettel.
Ricciardo then went quickest on the super-softs with a time of 1:32.099s, but his time as the top was short-lived as Raikkonen and the Vettel went quicker still.
With Ricciardo third, Verstappen was left to take fourth spot, with the Dutchman finishing just one hundredth of a second behind his Red Bull team-mate.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was the day’s surprise package, with the Spaniard claiming fifth spot ahead of the two Mercedes, with a best time of 1:32,564, 1.3 seconds off Vettel’s pace.
Force India’s Sergio Perez finished in eighth place behind the Mercedes, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg ninth ahead of the second Force India of Esteban Ocon.
2017 Malaysian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 23 1:31.261
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 19 1:31.865 0.604
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 19 1:32.099 0.838
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 11 1:32.109 0.848
5 Fernando Alonso McLaren 14 1:32.564 1.303
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 15 1:32.677 1.416
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 21 1:32.720 1.459
8 Sergio Perez Force India 20 1:32.862 1.601
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 24 1:33.060 1.799
10 Esteban Ocon Force India 24 1:33.096 1.835
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 26 1:33.381 2.120
12 Felipe Massa Williams 20 1:33.394 2.133
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 15 1:33.673 2.412
14 Lance Stroll Williams 16 1:33.818 2.557
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 22 1:34.043 2.782
16 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 19 1:34.104 2.843
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 18 1:34.118 2.857
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 17 1:34.343 3.082
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 29 1:35.246 3.985
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 27 1:35.697 4.436
eom/FIA press release