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There was drama in both free practice sessions in Malaysia, but for two different reasons. In FP1, the start of the session was delayed by thirty minutes because of the rain, and things got going only to find drivers slipping and sliding their way around the track. Pierre Gasly made his debut, whilst Sergey Sirotkin, Sean Gelael, Charles LeClerc and Antonio Giovinazzi were all also in action.
In the second session, the action was running slightly more smoothly, with just a few drivers hitting the gravel - including Bottas and Hamilton. However, FP2 had to be red flagged early when Romain Grosjean's Haas hit a loose and upended drain cover. The Frenchman was sent into the barriers at high speed although he was uninjured - if a little surprised and shocked at the unusual crash. Vettel was the fastest driver with Räikkönen behind, differing from FP1 which was led by the Red Bull pair.