Malaysian Grand Prix: King Kimi Raikkonen reigns in rain
- Trouble mounts for Sreesanth as Mumbai cops gather more evidence
- SIT to seek Supreme Court guidance on Maya Kodnani death penalty issue
- Tamil Nadu police bans Yasin Malik-linked pro-Eelam public meeting
- Kings XI Punjab end IPL 2013 campaign with a win
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
Formula One championship leader Kimi Raikkonen put his stamp on the Malaysian Grand Prix today when he outstripped the field on a rain-hit first day of free practice.
The Lotus driver, world champion in 2007 and a surprise but emphatic winner at last week's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, dodged a heavy shower to clock the day's fastest time of 1min 36.569sec in the second session.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, on the hunt for his fourth straight world title, was just two-hundredths of a second slower at the tropical Sepang circuit while Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were third and fourth for Ferrari.
Red Bull pilot Mark Webber, who led the opening 90-minute session, timed fifth in the second stanza while Lotus's Romain Grosjean was sixth, despite a bumpy excursion across the trackside grass.
Nico Rosberg, Paul di Resta, Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil were the remaining top 10 drivers after a difficult session which was punctuated by a track-clearing deluge midway through.
Tropical heat and sudden downpours make the Malaysian Grand Prix one of the most demanding of the season, with an extra challenge this year in preserving Formula One supplier Pirelli's new, faster-degrading tyres.
Raikkonen is a two-time winner at Sepang, including his first ever Formula One victory in 2003. But the Finn said today's performance would matter little when it comes to qualifying on Saturday.
"It seemed to be OK today... it was a good day but it doesn't help us tomorrow so we have to do tomorrow and hope it goes well," he said, dismissing the challenging conditions as "the same like other years".
Lotus technical chief James Allison said the 33-year-old Raikkonen, embarking on his second season in Formula One after his return from a two-year stint in rallying, seemed in a good frame of mind and had shown it with the win in Australia.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations