Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Massa the One to Beat in Malaysia

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Massa the One to Beat in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Felipe Massa laid down an early marker for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang as the Ferrari driver topped the standings after the first practice session today.

The Brazilian drove a superb race in Australia last time out to finish sixth after starting from the back of the grid, and served early notice he will be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday.

Massa's time of 1:34:972 put him ahead of McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by 0.248 and 0.740 seconds respectively, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ending the 90-minute run in fourth.

Jarno Trulli set the early benchmark with a time of 1:37:930 in his Toyota before Hamilton emerged after 20 minutes to record the fastest time of 1:36:582. Alonso posted a 1:36:750 in his opening stint but, as the track temperature rose to 43C, the times tumbled.

First Raikkonen crossed the line in 1:36:359 before following that up by going under one minute 36 seconds. However, Massa blew his Ferrari team-mate away with a lap time of 1:35:265 before shaving another six thousands off that to top the timesheets. …

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