Skip to main content

Ice-cool Raikkonen tops the charts in steamy Malaysia

updated 9:34 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen won the world championship for Ferrari in 2007.
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen won the world championship for Ferrari in 2007.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kimi Raikkonen sets fastest lap in practice ahead of Malaysian Grand Prix
  • The Lotus driver won last weekend's season-opening race in Australia
  • Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel second fastest behind Raikkonen
  • Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fourth fastest, with Lewis Hamilton ninth

(CNN) -- Kimi Raikkonen is not a driver to get unduly excited.

So It is no surprise that Formula One's "Iceman" is playing down the significance of his Lotus leading the timesheets in practice ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

It continues what has been a promising start to the season for the Finn, who took the checkered flag at last weekend's season opener in Australia.

The Circuit: CNN's look at the Malaysian GP

"Look at this place: it is hot, it is humid and the track is completely different," the 2007 world champion told Formula One's official website as he downplayed his achievements in practice.

Engines on, Formula 1 returns!
Australian GP: Albert Park flyover

"On top of this we could see rain at any point of the race, so how should I know what is happening on Sunday afternoon?

"The only thing that I can say right here, right now is that the car is good, that the team is working fantastically and that I want to keep the lead in the drivers' standings. Let's see where these factors will bring us in the race.

"At the moment I would say that it is trial and error for all of us, and the more you are able to try, the more you have the chance to eliminate any errors. It looked good for us this afternoon, but it is Friday so it doesn't mean much."

Read: McLaren drivers "can't compete"

Close behind Raikkonen was reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, on a day which saw dry conditions in the morning and rain in the afternoon.

The Red Bull driver recently spoke of his respect for Raikkonen, who denied that his new found pace would affect their off-track relationship.

"Seb is for me an honest guy -- and, yes, we get along very well," explained Raikkonen. "What happens on the track and life outside the cockpit are two completely different pairs of shoes.

"We are both professionals who can separate one from the other. I always wonder what people are expecting us to do? That we are running with a knife through the paddock seeking revenge after a race incident, or what?"

Tyre degradation

The 2013 Formula One season
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
F1: 2013 season preview F1: 2013 season preview
Pastor Maldonado took the new Williams for a spin at Barcelona on February 19 following the launch at Circuit de Catalunya. Pastor Maldonado took the new Williams for a spin at Barcelona on February 19 following the launch at Circuit de Catalunya.
F1 teams unveil 2013 cars
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
F1 teams unveil 2013 cars F1 teams unveil 2013 cars

Vettel, who finished third in the first race of the season, admitted improvements are needed for the Red Bull car ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

"This afternoon we couldn't do so much due to the weather, but this morning it looked OK, although the tyres don't last very long!" the 25-year-old German said.

"We need to try a couple of things now overnight to improve and take a step forward."

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest, edged out by his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa who went third fastest at the Sepang International Circuit.

Spain's Alonso won this race last year and he will be looking for the fourth victory of his career in Malaysia.

"Today, the car worked well in all conditions and that is very good news for us," explained Alonso. "Now we must see how tomorrow goes, when it could rain at any moment and on a track where tyre degradation is much higher than in Melbourne."

Lewis Hamilton was ninth fastest as he continues his integration into the Mercedes team following his switch from McLaren.

"We made some positive steps with the set-up over the two sessions today," explained the 2008 drivers' champion. "I had a good long run in the dry which has given us a lot of information to look at tonight.

"We didn't learn too much in the wet this afternoon however as the conditions were quite mixed when I went out. We focused mainly on longer runs today so I haven't done a quick lap yet on either set of tyres; that will come tomorrow.

"I'm happy with the direction that we're going and let's see what the weekend brings."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:08 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
updated 1:30 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
updated 3:16 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
updated 8:16 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
updated 5:55 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Susie Wolff
Despite being a sport well into its seventh decade, only two women have ever driven in Formula 1 but Susie Wolff hopes to become the third.
updated 12:36 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
updated 7:26 AM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
updated 7:13 PM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
updated 7:17 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
CNN's Rosie Tomkins speaks to Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes on the team's driver line-up for 2014.
updated 12:13 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
updated 11:33 AM EST, Wed December 4, 2013
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
ADVERTISEMENT