Vettel and Raikkonen expecting further improvement

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Malaysian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was in a league of his own on Friday at the conclusion of the first two practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel's time of 1:31.261s was an all-time new track record for the Sepang International Circuit. That's due in part to the new downforce and tyre regulations introduced this season.

More significantly, Vettel was six tenths faster than anyone else was able to run in the afternoon. The morning's times had been unrepresentative due to wet track conditions.

“This morning we had a bit of mixed conditions and there was not so much running,” Vettel noted.

"This afternoon it was better. The cars seemed to be quite okay right from the beginning of the session,: he said. "Still some things we must improve.

"Then we tried something new, but unfortunately we couldn’t complete our programme as we had wished to, because of the red flag."

The scheduled 90-minute session ended 20 minutes early after a heavy crash for Romain Grosjean. The Haas suffered a rear-right puncture on a raised drain cover and spun into the barriers.

With track workers fixing the drain cover and inspecting the rest of the track, the session did not resume after the incident. However Vettel was sure that the team would make up for the lost time on Saturday.

"We’ll see what we can do tomorrow," he said. "It’s only Friday, usually the day when you spend time trying various things on the car.

"We would have liked to drive a little bit more, but overall it was a decent afternoon. We have a good car and it’s up to us to make it work in all conditions.

"Red Bull looked very fast in the mixed conditions this morning, in the damp and wet on the intermediate tyres. Overall I think it's been a decent day. We will see what tomorrow brings."

His team mate Kimi Raikkonen was sure there was more to come from the team over the rest of the weekend.

"I thought my car was not too bad but we didn't do too many timed laps," he said. "For sure we could have further improved.

"We can go an awful lot faster"

Raikkonen was second fastest, two tenths clear from the two Red Bull cars that wee Ferrari's closest challengers on Friday.

"Lap times don’t mean much today, as obviously we don’t know what everybody else was doing.

“Today’s been okay and everything ran smoothly,” Kimi confirmed. “In the morning we had wet conditions and only managed a few laps. And in the afternoon the session was cut short.

"But the car was feeling good. I made some mistakes on a new set of tyres but apart from that it was a pretty straightforward day."

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