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Lewis has fastest lap; Force India's Fisichella in top ten

Sepang, Malaysia, Mar 21 (UNI) Englishman Lewis Hamilton who won the opening race in Melbourne continued to put in great timing as he squeezed in the fastest lap of the day in practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix today leaving behind him the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

Massa had topped the morning timesheets with a quickest lap of 1:35.392 around the Sepang circuit, but McLaren's Hamilton denied the Brazilian a sweep of the two sessions with a late 1:35.055 in the afternoon.

The 23-year-old Hamilton who had a slight problem in the morning session, however in the end came up trumps with a late blast.

Ferrari meanwhile after suffering their worst start to a Formula One campaign since 1992 in Australia last week, when neither Massa nor Raikkonen reached the chequered flag, redeemed themselves with superb timings in the morning session of the free practice. Massa ended the second session 0.151 seconds behind Briton Hamilton, the winner in Melbourne, with world champion Raikkonen third quickest and 0.373 seconds off the pace. The Finn's morning session was interrupted when his car ran out of fuel.

There was good news for the Force India team also with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finishing with the ninth best timing in free practice today.

Jenson Button (Honda), Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) and Jarno Trulli (Toyota) delivered eye-catching performances in the afternoon by finishing fourth, fifth and sixth quickest, while McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen was only seventh.

Vettel, who stalled on the starting grid and crashed out at the first turn in Australia, was pleased with the Toro Rosso's performance but was not getting carried away.

''Lap times don't always tell the full story, but I think we can be happy with the afternoon, when we did quite a lot of laps,'' said the German.

His French team mate Sebastien Bourdais, who finished in the points on his Formula One debut in Australia, struggled in the early session and his afternoon practice ended after only one lap due to engine problems.

Poland's Robert Kubica (BMW), Italian Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) and Japanese rookie Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) rounded out the top 10.

David Coulthard sat out the afternoon practice after an accident in the first session left his Red Bull with substantial damage.


Story first published: Friday, March 21, 2008, 18:36 [IST]
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