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Weekend logbook - Malaysia 2014 - A one-stop space for all the on and off track action from Sepang

Published by Christine

Welcome to Sepang
Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Round two of the F1 world championship is upon us, and while many of the unknowns going into the season opener have been cleared up, plenty more questions have been raised making this weekend just as compelling, if not more.

Sepang poses teams and drivers with an entirely different challenge from that they experienced a fortnight ago and the weekend logbook is here to track all of their movements, quotes and interactions whatever they might get up to.

Check back here regularly to keep up with rolling news and regular updates, as the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend unfolds.

As it happened: Malaysia 2014 extended weekend coverage

  • 20:55

    Hello fact-hunting friends, how have you been? It's only been a fortnight since we were here, eagerly anticipating the first race of the year. Now it's Round 2 and I am just as excited!

  • 20:55

    Naturally, we saw many things in Australia and learnt a lot about how F1 in 2014 would be. At the same time, heaps more questions were asked, leaving plenty of curiousity for the next race.

  • 20:56

    Not least of which, of course, the Red Bull fuel flow sensor situation, which will be lingering over our (and their) heads until early April.

  • 20:57

    That is in the future, though. For now, it's time to look at what we've got coming up this weekend, namely the Malaysian Grand Prix. If you want to know everything possible about the upcoming race, our handy information post should have everything you need. And if not, just ask!

  • 21:01

    It's worth saying, at this early stage in proceedings, that in the UK the clocks will be going forward one hour on Sunday morning. Make note, if you struggle with time bouncing around.

  • 21:09
    Hamilton's green cap

    The Mercedes drivers have been super busy this week, promoting all things F1 in the home country of their sponsor, Petronas. Lewis has even gone all green with his hat. Which I'm actually quite annoyed about because he made such a fuss about his headwear in the first place, just switching to green seems silly!

    Credit: Mercedes Petronas

  • 21:13

    It is/was the Laureus World Sports Awards this evening, and you'll never guess who won World Sportsman of the Year.

    It's only quadruple F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

    Just what that man needs, another trophy.

  • 21:19

    More from those pesky Mercedes boys who have been anywhere and everywhere these past few days. Here, Rosberg shows off to the crowds.

  • 21:31

    We've got live events ready and waiting for you for all the sessions this weekend. Below is a schedule of the session times, and you can get to them via the events page, the twirling box in the sidebar of any non-homepage page or the series link at the bottom of this very post.

    Mar 28, 02:00 GMTFree Practice
    Mar 29, 08:00 GMTQualifying
    Mar 30, 09:00 GMT+1Grand Prix
  • 02:24

    Ericsson has been out for an early morning track walk, clearly eager to get on with the weekend already.

  • 11:43

    A disgruntled Sebastian Vettel spent Thursday complaining to the media about the noise new F1 engines make, arguing that "The sound is one of the most important things."

    Jenson Button cheerfully responded with a definitive solution to Vettel's issue, suggesting that those unhappy with the sport's new direction should "Go and race something else if you are not happy."

  • 11:50

    Mercedes appear confident they have resolved the engine issues that brought Lewis Hamilton's Australian GP to an abrupt end.

    Hamilton will run the very same power unit in at least part of the first free practice session to ensure the problem has been dealt with.

  • 13:32

    There was talk in Melbourne that the Ferrari was overweight and thus down on pace. Ahead of this weekend's action, Sauber (who run the Ferrari power unit) have admitted the very same. German racer, Adrian Sutil says: "We are overweight and step by step we're going to improve that. It's going to take some time."

    Even light Esteban Gutiérrez, who you could fit in your pocket, is struggling. "We still have a lot of work to do as we are quite a lot overweight."

  • 17:33

    TweetTweet from @RGrosjean: 1st day at #SepangCircuit, hopefully we have done some good improvements. Looking fwd to drive here! #r8main

    Lotus will be keen to have a better weekend this time than last, although a total of 42 laps between two drivers going into the race, followed by a double DNF... it couldn't really get worse than that, could it?

  • 17:37

    QuoteSix drivers faced the press conference today, with a variety of questions. Valtteri Bottas was tasked with answering whether the teams had an idea of the pecking order after just one race.

    "I think we have some kind of idea where every team is. Of course, like Nico said before, Melbourne is maybe not the best benchmark, a little bit different track than most of the others. We will see here, and of course, all the teams are going to improve so much race by race, especially when we get to Europe. Some kind of idea but it can change."

  • 00:25

    How keen do you have to be to make it to the track this early?

    Sunrise on Friday at Sepang
    Credit: Paul Harris/Twitter

    @pigslips: My artistic shot of the day! 7:30am Malaysia

  • 00:28

    Toro Rosso's senior race engineer Xevi Pujolar is another who's awake and tweeting ahead of the day's running.

    @xevipujolar: Early start today. Expecting harder track conditions than Melbourne for engine & tyres due to higher temperatures & layout. As always high chances of rain in the afternoon so need to be always ready for changeable conditions.

  • 00:42

    Photographs shared via social media suggest McLaren have swapped the temporary Mobil 1 livery that appeared at the first race, for a similar one with an Esso logo on the sidepods.

    Both brands are part of the Exxon Mobil Corporation who have been McLaren partners for some 20 years.

  • 01:02

    A free practice thread for live session discussion is available to anyone who might be around. Feel free to join in.

  • 03:43
    Free Practice 1
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2K RäikkönenFerrari
    3N RosbergMercedes

    Hamilton topped the first practice session timesheet despite a late trip through the gravel, while the Lotus pair propped up the rear, having experienced another troubled session.

  • 08:22
    Free Practice 2
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2K RäikkönenFerrari
    3S VettelRed Bull

    Second practice saw similar domination for Mercedes, with Hamilton fourth and Rosberg fastest. McLaren had some reliability troubles but the bulk of the problems were reserved for Lotus once again. Maldonado didn't set a time for the second session in a row, whilst Grosjean was more than 2 seconds off the pace... before stopping out on track.

  • 20:33

    Full results of the practice sessions are now available - Free Practice 1 here, and Free Practice 2 this way.

  • 20:34

    A 60 second round-up of recent Ferrari thoughts and news, with quotes from Kimi and Fernando, plus talk of their software problem.

  • 20:37

    Lotus had another disastrous day out on track, with Pastor Maldonado only able to complete a couple of installation laps in first practice then not leaving the garage in the second. Grosjean completed 14 laps in FP2, but then stopped with a gearbox problem.

  • 20:37

    QuoteThe team are trying to remain strong but it's hard to be positive against such a disappointing lack of running. Pastor Maldonado says: "It's tough as each time we're expecting to be better and better. We've been working so hard, the mechanics, the engineers, together with Renault Sport F1. We just need to try and be strong enough to accept when we have a problem and as soon as everything is fixed, be ready to be out and attack immediately."

  • 20:53

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: All in all, a tough day in the heat of @sepangcircuit, and a long night now lies ahead for our boys to fix the issues ahead of F3 & quali

  • 20:58

    It's worth pointing out that Maldonado was almost heart-breaking in the Thursday press-conference, too, when asked about how difficult this year's cars are to drive: "To be honest, I don’t have much to say, because I’ve not spent a lot of time in the car at the moment."

  • 21:27

    Here's a moment I've been waiting for, it's time to introduce FRANCK FACTS. Discussing the troubles Lotus are facing, Franck Montagny - French F1 broadcaster and former racer - said the team are recovering from losing over 100 people over the winter break. 100!

  • 07:18

    Final practice saw Nico Rosberg topping the times again, whilst it was the turn of McLaren to struggle. The two drivers completed nine laps between them, with reliability troubles keeping them off the pace. Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado actually managed 20 laps!

    Free Practice 3
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2L HamiltonMercedes
    3K RäikkönenFerrari
  • 07:19

    Full practice results are available here.

  • 07:20

    Meanwhile, qualifying is just inches away, you can join the fabulous live comments where there's plenty of discussion about the rain!

  • 10:44

    What a qualifying that was! Rain delayed the start by almost an hour, we had two red flags, and tyre strategy ahoy! Relive all the action with the Factbyte Factbox's lap by lap coverage.

  • 10:45

    And if you just want to head straight for the results, we have those available too!

  • 10:45

    TweetTweet from @maxchilton: Frustrating qualifying for us as the car was good but only got a clear lap on the lap I was recovering. Ready for either conditions tomorrow.

  • 12:26

    Valtteri Bottas has been given a three place grid penalty for the race tomorrow, after being found to have impeded Daniel Ricciardo. The Finn was on an out lap as the Red Bull driver was trying to get past. He'll now start way down in 18th place.

  • 12:27

    Bottas' defence was: "It was a difficult situation - we had a radio problem and in Turn 9 the team told me that I had either a gap in front or behind Ricciardo. So I thought I would try to stay in front.

    Obviously he was coming very quickly and it was a bit closer in the last few corners than maybe it should've been. It didn't cost him anything in the end and I wasn't sure whether he was on a timed lap or not."

  • 12:46
    F1Minute qualifying report

    Trying to squeeze that qualifying session into sixty seconds is a bit of a challenge, but here's the best attempt at it.

  • 12:58

    A heated debate took place between Rosberg and Vettel during the post-qualifying press conference. Vettel is desperately in search of someone to blame for not getting across the line in time to set a final flying lap.

  • 18:25

    The starting grid has altered a little with Bottas' penalty - the Finn down to 18th place now.

  • 18:28

    TweetTweet from @JensonButton: Took a gamble and it didn't pay off today but hey ho! Tomorrow is another day and I think it'll be a very interesting one!

  • 18:33
    See you tomorrow (Alonso sunset)
    Credit: Twitter/alo_oficial

    Alonso shares an incredible picture of the sun going down in Malaysia. Just one more sleep till race day.

  • 08:16

    And thus, before you know it, race day is here. If you're following the action today, do join the live comments where predictions are currently being made. How many do you think will see the chequered flag?

  • 08:17

    TweetTweet from @SutilAdrian: It's my 111th GP today and many more to come

  • 12:17

    Intriguing race all round! Perhaps not a classic in terms of out and out racing for position, but plenty to think about as teams leave Malaysia and head straight to Bahrain.

  • 12:17

    If you missed any of the racing action, or want a quick reminder of what happened at a particular point, the Factbyte Factbox replay may be of assistance.

  • 12:29

    You can catch up with the full results of the race, as well as have a peek at the driver standings and the team standings, in which Mercedes move up the order, as you might have predicted!

  • 12:35

    Daniel Ricciardo had a pretty trying day, pit stop problem, front wing failure, then a 10 second stop/go penalty ending in a retirement. Now, he's also been given a ten place grid drop for the next race, for the unsafe release.

  • 12:36

    TweetTweet from @maxchilton: Tough day in the office, closed the gap at the end to cross the line 0.1 behind from 10 behind.

    -3kgs in body weight.

  • 17:30
    Hülkenberg enjoys a beer
    Credit: Twitter/NicoHulkenberg

    @NicoHulkenberg: Enjoying dinner and an after work 10 points beer now✌️! Tmrw morning off to the middle east!

  • 17:37

    According to Williams' Rod Nelson, the team would have swapped their drivers back into their original positions if Bottas had failed to promptly pass Jenson Button.

    "Felipe was running fairly high temperatures on his engine and Valtteri had much fresher tyres than Jenson did. We thought that it would be good to give Valtteri a go at getting past Jenson.

    "If he hadn't achieved that within two or three laps, we would have swapped our drivers over again and everyone would have been happy."

  • 23:40

    Recapping the race in 60 seconds, here is Sunday's F1Minute.

  • 23:50

    Nico Rosberg has filed his traditional video message for fans, following his second place finish. Interestingly he highlights that he closed his eyes at the start of the Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel swept across the track, almost pushing him into the pit wall.

  • 23:58

    Kamui Kobayashi is another driver with a video blog. In his dual language Kamui TV review he talks about his pleasure at seeing the chequered flag in a Caterham and looks ahead to racing next weekend in Bahrain.

  • 20:57

    There's just time to squeeze in a link to this weekend's rate the race poll, in which we ask for your votes on the Grand Prix action, the stewards, the podium interviews, and of course, your driver of the day.

  • 20:58

    Otherwise, it's time to wrap up the logbook for Malaysia. Another eventful weekend has been completed and it's time to start looking ahead to Bahrain. Do join me again for the logbook which will be in... two day's time. Must dash!

All content in the series Malaysia 2014