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As it happened: Friday Morning Practice
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
The Sepang F1 Circuit
The Sepang F1 Circuit © Sutton
01:45 Good morning everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live as we begin coverage of round three of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Just five days on from that action-packed Australian Grand Prix, the sport has upped sticks and relocated at the Sepang F1 Circuit, close to Kuala Lumpur, for the hottest race of the year.

The 15-turn course poses several challenges for the driver - not least getting the balance right between top speed for the two long straights and good traction and mechanical grip in the slow and twisty first complex of corners.

It's time to practice for the 12th Malaysian Grand Prix.

01:46 Today, we will guide you through the opening practice sessions with minute-by-minute commentary as the teams and drivers get their first runs on the circuit.

First practice will begin shortly, with commentary ending 15 minutes after the session has concluded.

Later, at 05:45 GMT, we will return for live coverage of the second practice session. AUTOSPORT Live will wrap up the day with a weekend weather forecast, on the Malaysian Grand Prix weather page.

01:47 In the drivers' championship, Fernando Alonso holds a slender four-point advantage over team-mate Felipe Massa after the first two races. This is Massa's best-ever start to a season so the Brazilian goes into the third round full of confidence.

Jenson Button's victory at Melbourne puts him right in the hunt, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton managing to stay in touch. With the new point-scoring structure, Hamilton will be keen to at least score a podium on Sunday to keep within 20 points of the leader.

The world is waiting for Michael Schumacher's championship challenge to take a leap forward. He is already facing two very important events - here, and in China later this month - as he bids to stay in touch, while on the other side of the garage Nico Rosberg has performed very well in his two races for the three-pointed star.

In the constructors' standings we see Red Bull down in fourth, despite having clearly the fastest car with the RB6. Sebastian Vettel has led both races this season but has yet to finish on the podium. Both he and Mark Webber need a good result this weekend.
World Championship standings, round 2:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso        37        1.  Ferrari                    70
 2.  Massa         33        2.  McLaren-Mercedes           54
 3.  Button        31        3.  Mercedes                   29
 4.  Hamilton      23        4.  Red Bull-Renault           18
 5.  Rosberg       20        5.  Renault                    18
 6.  Kubica        18        6.  Force India-Mercedes        8
 7.  Vettel        12        7.  Williams-Cosworth           5
 8.  Schumacher     9       
 9.  Liuzzi         8       
10.  Webber         6       
11.  Barrichello    5       
01:49 The weather is dry at Sepang this morning and we expect no rain to fall during the two practice sessions.

So far this week, the thunderstorms have occurred between 15:00 and 20:00 local time, so with practice today ending at 15:30, conditions should remain dry, but more cloud is expected to build towards the end of the second session.

The maximum air temperature will reach 32 degrees Celsius.

Robert Kubica in Melbourne
Robert Kubica in Melbourne © Sutton
01:50 AUTOSPORT forum members are invited to join the fun throughout the weekend, offering thoughts and opinions as the event unfolds.

Our questions to you for today are:

• Can Renault back up its great second place result in Australia this weekend at Sepang?

• Will Lotus Racing perform well at its home grand prix?

• Will the McLaren MP4-25 be the quickest car on the straights thanks to its F-duct system?

Tell everyone what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you would like to join the debate.

Fariuz Fauzy
Fariuz Fauzy © Sutton
01:51 Some news in notes going into today's sessions:

• Fariuz Fauzy will replace Heikki Kovalainen at Lotus during first practice, therefore becoming the first home-grown driver to take part in an F1 weekend at Sepang since Alex Yoong retired from the 2002 race in his Minardi.

"I know it's a bit difficult as we can't test, but if there's a chance to drive on Fridays, it's better than nothing," Fauzy told AUTOSPORT. "You're driving in a real situation, in a real weekend, in a Formula 1 environment."

The 27-year-old Malaysian added that driving in an official F1 session on home turf would be an incredible experience.

"To be [driving] at my home grand prix is a fantastic feeling for me," he said. "The last time I drove here was in A1GP, and also in GP2 Asia. So it's not like my first time in front of my home crowd. This is special because it's Formula 1."

• Paul di Resta will get another Friday outing today at the wheel of Tonio Liuzzi's Force India. The Scot settled into Friday practice at Melbourne very well, finishing the first session just four-tenths of a second shy of the Italian.

• Three-time grand prix winner Johnny Herbert will join the FIA stewards panel this weekend, assisting with calls on driving standards during practice, qualifying and the race.

• Other than routine maintenance such as line and kerb painting, making sure the debris fences are in order and other gardening duties, there are no changes to the circuit since last year's rain-shortened event.

Bridgestone tyres
Bridgestone tyres © Sutton
01:53 Bridgestone's tyre allocation matches that of Australia with the hard and soft compounds on offer.

While the rubber proved durable around Albert Park, with the softer option lapping almost the entire distance in the hands of some drivers, temperatures were unusually cool in Melboune last weekend.

Here in Malaysia, there is no respite from the heat and the asphalt is likely to hit 45 Celsius. That, combined with some high-speed and challenging corners, should make it much more difficult to keep the tyres intact.

"Sepang is relatively severe on tyres as it has many different corner types and two heavy braking zones after long straights. This means the energy going through the tyres over a lap is considerable. High temperatures are usually a factor in Malaysia and this could mean more tyre degradation than we've seen so far this year, particularly given the severity of the track," said Bridgestone's Hirohide Hamashima.

01:55 Practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix gets underway in five minutes.

01:56 The track temperature is just 29 Celsius under partially cloudy skies, with a warm 27 degree ambient.

01:58 Paul di Resta is sitting in the Force India, but yet to put his gloves on as he tries to keep his hands cool prior to the session opening.

01:58 Sebastian Vettel climbs aboard the Red Bull RB6 ready to begin the day's programme of work.

01:58 Fariuz Fauzy is busy preparing for his outing in the Lotus.

01:59 Michael Schumacher is shuffling around in the cockpit of the Mercedes as he gets himself comfortable.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Fauzy leads the queue of cars out of the pits.

0 min: He is joined by di Resta, Sutil, Buemi, Alguersuari and Bruno Senna for a lap of the circuit.

1 min: Nico Hulkenberg and Karun Chandhok join the group on track as the installation lap continues.

1 min: Melbourne winner Jenson Button is ready for action in his McLaren as the engineers warm up the engine.

2 min: Fauzy pits to end his first Formula 1 lap of Sepang.

2 min: Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil cross the start-finish line to begin a second lap for the installation process. We expect them to pit at the end of this tour.

3 min: The Ferrari pair of Alonso and Massa are now out for an exploratory tour.

3 min: Sutil and di Resta indeed come into the pits to end a two-lap installation run.

4 min: Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel are on track now, circulating slowly as they gather data for the engineers. Mark Webber joins them.

5 min: Robert Kubica is on track to test out his Renault after that strong second place finish in Australia.

5 min: Michael Schumacher joins the racetrack in the Mercedes as Barrichello arrives back in the pitlane.

6 min: Nico Rosberg is last-but-one to sample the track this morning.

7 min: De la Rosa in the Sauber crosses the line in 1m53.855s to clock the first time of the day.

8 min: The McLaren pair are among the last drivers to complete installation laps. Jenson Button continued on to a second lap, but now brings the MP4-25 in.

8 min: Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel also complete a two-lap installation for Red Bull. Both are back into the pits.

9 min: De la Rosa continues, improving to a 1m53.090s. The team plan to further test its F-duct today, which could prove a vital aid down the long straights.

9 min: Fauzy is back out to commence a run in the Lotus, as de la Rosa pits his Sauber.

10 min: Rubens Barrichello is out of the car and taking on board a cooling drink, as the Williams engineers study the data to make sure all is okay.

11 min: Fauzy is over the line and starts his first flying lap.

12 min: Along the pitlane, the teams of engineers and data analysts are now looking at the telemetry from the installation run.

12 min: Once they are happy that everything is functioning properly, the race engineer is given the all-clear to begin the planned programme of work, testing tyres, set-ups and fuel loads.

12 min: Fauzy is well up on de la Rosa's early time with a 1m43.456s.

13 min: Both McLaren drivers are out of their cars as the engineers check over the machinery.

14 min: Fauzy continues to have the circuit to himself and improves to a 1m42.390s.

15 min: The track temperature is up to 33 degrees as the sun burns through the light cloud cover.

16 min: Another improvement for Fauzy as he clocks a 1m41.745s on his sixth lap of the day.

17 min: Karun Chandhok rolls out of the HRT garage to begin his first run as team-mate Senna watches the monitor.

17 min: Chandhok is told over the team radio that the plan is to complete six timed laps.

18 min: He is also advised to take care of the tyres - especially in the high speed sections of the circuit, to keep the graining down.

18 min: Bruno Senna now joins Chandhok on the circuit.

20 min: Chandhok completes his first timed lap of the day in 1m45.811s.

20 min: Fauzy continues his first run in the Lotus with another improved time of 1m41.552s.

20 min: Jaime Alguersuari joins the track in the Toro Rosso, making it four cars on track currently.

21 min: Bruno Senna posts a 1m45.917s - just one-tenth of a second shy of Chandhok's time. They are second and third behind Fauzy.

22 min: Chandhok improves to a 1m43.245s on his second timed lap. He remains in second spot.

22 min: Fauzy ends his first outing and is pushed back into the Lotus garage.

22 min: Senna struggles to get the Hispania turned into Turn 14 but nevertheless manages 1m44.926s. He is third at the moment.

23 min: Alguersuari is now the quickest driver on the circuit. He shoots to the top with 1m40.119s.

24 min: The leading contenders will be pleased to see this early running begin to lay some Formula 1 rubber on the racing line.

25 min: Alguersuari is pushing much harder on his second flyer. He completes the lap in 1m39.114s to move 2.4 seconds clear of Fauzy.

26 min: Karun Chandhok finds another eight-tenths of a second to post 1m42.551s. He is now third behind Alguersuari and Fauzy.

27 min: Paul di Resta joins the early runners by rolling out of the garage in the Force India.

27 min: Virgin plan a little longer waiting in the garage: "Looking to go out in about 8 minutes if we stick to the plan."

28 min: Jaime Alguersuari is set to go faster once again ... and he does with 1m37.478s in the Toro Rosso.

28 min: Vitaly Petrov heads out to start his day while Jarno Trulli puts his Lotus up to fourth quickest, slightly slower than Fauzy's earlier time.

28 min: Paul di Resta slots into second place with 1m39.917s - some 2.4 seconds shy of Alguersuari's early benchmark.

29 min: Nico Hulkenberg comes out of the pits. The Williams driver is about to start his first run of the weekend.

30 min: Karun Chandhok has found another tenth of a second over the last couple of laps. He is now fifth with 1m42.434s.

30 min: Paul di Resta improves on his second timed lap with 1m38.557s and is going even quicker on his third lap so far.

31 min: Trulli improves to third quickest in his Lotus with a 1m41.007s effort.

31 min: Chandhok finds another three tenths ... but Alguersuari is touring slowly back to the pits in the Toro Rosso.

31 min: Alguersuari reports on the team radio that he is experiencing a problem with the engine.

32 min: Paul di Resta takes the top spot away from Alguersuari with a lap of 1m37.462s in the Force India.

33 min: Kobayashi is now on track in his Sauber.

34 min: Paul di Resta extends his advantage at the head of the field with 1m37.209s as Hulkenberg slots in fourth place in the Williams, sandwiching Alguersuari and Petrov.

34 min: Petrov slots in third quickest with a 1m38.476s.

35 min: Jaime Alguersuari made it back into the pits with his ailing Toro Rosso, but stopped as soon as he crossed the white line.

35 min: Felipe Massa is now out for his first timed run.

35 min: The Toro Rosso mechanics are now pushing Alguersuari's car towards the garage so that they can investigate the problem.

35 min: Petrov improves the next time by with the fastest final sector of the day so far. He's now second quickest to di Resta.

36 min: Meantime, Paul di Resta has lowered his time to 1m36.891s. He is almost half-a-second clear of the Russian.

38 min: Fariuz Fauzy gets a big slide on at the quick Turn 12 and slews the Lotus on to the run-off area. The solid surface helps the Malaysian recover back to action.

38 min: Jenson Button is out on his first flying lap of the day.

39 min: Paul di Resta comes into the pits at the end of a positive first run in the Force India. His team-mate Sutil is yet to post a lap time.

39 min: Massa has gone third quickest with an early time of 1m37.389s.

39 min: Button slots in second as he clocks a 1m37.332s.

39 min: Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel are on the circuit. The German will be looking to establish himself as the front-runner quickly.

40 min: Meanwhile, Robert Kubica puts the Renault on top ... before being displaced by team-mate Petrov with a new benchmark of 1m36.712s.

41 min: Button is fastest through all three sectors to put his McLaren at the top of the order with a 1m35.464s.

42 min: Sebastian Vettel posts a 1m38.386s as his first effort, putting him in 11th place.

42 min: Lewis Hamilton is also on track for his first outing in the McLaren, which he puts third quickest with a 1m36.320s first effort.

44 min: Hamilton's second lap is a much quicker 1m35.138s to go quickest and make it a McLaren one-two.

44 min: McLaren's F-duct is set to be a major factor this weekend, allowing the team to run significant downforce to help through the corners before blasting down the long straights with reduced drag.

45 min: Behind the McLaren pair, Robert Kubica is now third quickest, with Vettel up to fourth after posting a 1m36.658s. Petrov is fifth.

46 min: Renault pass on some early thoughts: "Good car balance reports Vitaly, some rear wheel locking"

46 min: Vettel finds four-tenths of a second but he remains fourth with 1m36.219s as his first run continues.

46 min: Hamilton is quickest through the first two sectors but is now boxed up behind Glock's Virgin.

47 min: Adrian Sutil has posted a time on the board. He is tenth on a 1m36.915s effort so far.

47 min: Hamilton is unable to clear the traffic through the final sector but still improves the benchmark to a 1m34.921s.

48 min: Nico Rosberg moves up the order to fourth spot, demoting Vettel with 1m35.937s.

48 min: Robert Kubica continues to close on the McLaren pace with a 1m35.402s his best before pitting the Renault.

48 min: Mark Webber is also on his first serious run of the day, but suffers a wild sideways slide under braking for Turn 9. He is facing the right way and continues.

48 min: Alonso clocks his first time of the day in 1m43.496s.

50 min: Alonso improves to seventh quickest with his next tour. Team-mate Massa is currently 13th.

50 min: Michael Schumacher is the only driver yet to come out for a run. He completed an installation lap but hasn't reappeared.

52 min: Mark Webber moves up to sixth place with 1m35.479s and is followed over the line by Sutil who goes sixth with 1m35.955s.

52 min: Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok are back out for a second run of laps for Hispania Racing. They are 23rd and 22nd in the standings.

53 min: Glock has ended his first run 19th quickest in the Virgin. Team-mate di Grassi is lapping at the moment and is 21st, with Fauzy's Lotus between the pair.

53 min: Trulli is the quickest of the new team contenders at the moment with his Lotus 18th, 5.3 seconds off the early pace.

54 min: Michael Schumacher's Mercedes remains in the garage, while the mechanics are making changes. There are just 35 minutes remaining.

55 min: McLaren refuel Jenson Button's car before the world champion's second run of the day.

56 min: Alonso sets his best lap of the session with a 1m35.959s but he remains seventh quickest.

58 min: Senna has improved to 21st position with a lap of 1m41.832s. He is now one-tenth ahead of Chandhok.

60 min: Pedro de la Rosa gets it all wrong at the tricky Turn 12 and ends up across the gravel trap and looking for an exit around by the wall.

60 min: The McLaren pair still lead the times with less than 30 minutes to go. Kubica is third with Rosberg fourth, Webber fifth and Sutil in sixth.

61 min: Michael Schumacher is now out on the circuit and ready to put his first lap time on the board.

61 min: De la Rosa recovers across the grass and access road before pitting the car.

62 min: Sebastian Vettel is back out for another run in the Red Bull Renault. He is eighth in the classification currently.

63 min: Felipe Massa is on track at the moment but currently 14th quickest, just under two seconds off the pace.

63 min: Schumacher is on his first flying lap now and looking reasonably quick straight away. He should move into the top ten on this lap.

64 min: Schumacher crosses the line in 1m35.951s to go sixth quickest in the Mercedes.

64 min: Felipe Massa is the next man to test the bounds at Turn 11, bouncing over the gravel before recovering the Ferrari to the road.

65 min: Schumacher goes on for a second effort. His first sector was quick but he has since backed off a little. He does not improve.

67 min: Massa has been off road again with a bounce over the grass at the double right-hander, Turns 7 and 8.

67 min: Schumacher finds time on his next lap and is third behind the McLaren drivers with 1m35.395s.

68 min: Lewis Hamilton is on track for his second lap of the day.

69 min: Button also heads out for a run in his McLaren.

70 min: Sebastian Vettel's second run has come to an early end. He reported on the team radio that the RB6 wasn't slowing down properly.

70 min: Vettel was told to pit by his race engineer. The Red Bull mechanics are now taking a look at the problem.

71 min: We should see quite a lot of running in these final 18 minutes. Track conditions are much improved and his set of the harder tyres need to be handed back after the session.

72 min: Massa pits to bring his run to an end.

73 min: Toro Rosso explain the early problems for Alguersuari: "Electrical problem for Jaime, but out on track again now. Hot doesn't begin to describe conditions in the garages."

75 min: Mark Webber is continuing to circulate on a long run of laps in the Red Bull. He is in sixth position at the moment - 0.558s off the benchmark pace, set by Hamilton.

76 min: Red Bull aren't convinced that conditions are representative of what we may see with the late-afternoon race start: "Sunny and 29°C. This bears so little relation to what we'll get for the race, we might as well hold the practice sessions at Silverstone."

76 min: Karun Chandhok joins the racetrack for another run. He is last on a 1m41.966s at the moment. He needs just over one tenth to demote Senna.

77 min: The McLaren pair aren't matching their earlier times on this set of used rubber with perhaps some additional fuel onboard.

77 min: Jaime Alguersuari is on for an improvement in the Toro Rosso. Yes, he moves up from 16th to 12th with 1m36.645s.

78 min: The track temperature is up to 38 degrees as the morning wears on at Sepang.

78 min: That lap from Alguersuari puts him just behind team-mate Sebastien Buemi. They are 11th and 12th with 11 minutes to go.

79 min: Mark Webber has pitted at the end of that run of laps. Meantime, Sebastian Vettel's problem is fixed and the German is back out on track.

81 min: Michael Schumacher leaves the Mercedes garage to begin only his second run of the day. He is third behind Hamilton and Button.

81 min: Fauzy was on for his best lap of the day but again gets out of shape at Turn 12. He again makes good use of the run-off to recover.

84 min: Sebastien Buemi is 11th but sets a very quick first sector time. He backs that up with a personal best in sector three as well to go ninth.

84 min: The track is very busy at the moment with just four cars currently in the pits.

84 min: Buemi's time was 1m36.100s. That lap drops Vettel to a lowly tenth in the classification.

86 min: Michael Schumacher posts his quickest first sector time. He is right on the pace of Hamilton at the second sector.

86 min: Schumacher crosses the line in 1m35.275s. He found one-tenth of a second but remains in third place.

87 min: Schumacher suffered in the final sector of the lap. Now he has compromised the next lap by running wide over the exit kerb at Turn 4.

88 min: Sebastian Vettel has jumped ahead of Sebastien Buemi again. The German has finds a marginal improvement with 1m36.043s. He is now ninth.

88 min: Hamilton pits to wrap up his morning's work. He remains on top of the times.

03:30 The flag is out to close first practice.

03:30 Schumacher finds another small improvement of 0.050s to post 1m35.225s in the Mercedes. He stays third fastest.

03:31 Trulli, Glock and di Grassi all make small improvements in the race to be best of the new teams towards the bottom of the timesheet.

03:32 Nico Rosberg jumps up the order at the end of the session to second with 1m35.106s. He finishes the session ahead of team-mate Schumacher.

03:33 Sebastian Vettel pits at the end of the session. Having crossed the line after the flag was displayed, he continued to push hard, setting the fastest time of all in the second sector. That lap - had he been allowed to complete it - would have put him right up towards the front.

03:34 Lewis Hamilton puts McLaren on top at the end of the first practice session in Malaysia. His time was 1m34.921s. Nico Rosberg was second.

03:35 Jenson Button was third in the second MP4-25, with Schumacher fourth after a slow start to the session.

03:35 Robert Kubica was fifth quickest, continuing Renault's good run of form, with Mark Webber in sixth place for Red Bull.

03:36 Adrian Sutil wound up seventh, with Alonso eighth, Vettel ninth after problems and Sebastien Buemi rounding out the top ten.

03:39 Here is the round-up from a busy first session at Sepang:

Hamilton leads opening Sepang practice

03:39 It's McLaren and Mercedes that have set the early pace at Sepang. Michael Schumacher may have started slowly following some problems but was soon on the leading pace.

Ferrari and Red Bull would appear to have work to do, but as we know both teams are extremely quick when one-lap pace is needed.

Will the order stay the same or will we see changes at the top during the afternoon session? Join us from 05:45 GMT to find out.

Session length: 90 minutes
Mainly sunny High Temp: 32°C / 90°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 29 Mar Start GMT
 Malaysian Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 02 Apr
 Friday Morning Practice 01:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 05:45
Saturday 03 Apr
 Saturday Practice 04:45
 Qualifying 07:45
Sunday 04 Apr
 Race day at Sepang 06:30