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Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 10:40 UK

Malaysian GP qualifying as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1035: I said it before and I'll say it again - what a Malaysian GP we have in store. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel pushing from the front, Nico Rosberg starting from the front of the grid for the first time, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher facing off from the fourth row, the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa likely to be weaving their way through the field from the back... oh - and it'll probably rain as well. Sensational. I'll be back with all the chat on Sunday at 0730 BST, with BBC One's race coverage kicking off at 0800 BST. Miss it, and you're crazier than a race strategist who suggests sitting in the pits while it rains. Yes.

blickbuster on Twitter: "Four of the top five drivers from Germany..."

1028: By the way, a few of you are asking after tyre choice now. Whatever happens, all the drivers can choose whatever tyres they want in Sunday's race. Nice.

shivamlm on Twitter: "Bit of irony that Rubens (Barrichello) and Michael (Schumacher) line up side by side on row 4."

Karun Chandhok on Twitter: "Maaaan that was tricky! Experienced guys were able to get out and get on it before rain... Quite pleased with my result."

Club Force India on Twitter: "Great result! Both cars in the top 10. P4 for Adrian. P10 for Tonio."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "In fairness it was something Mark (Webber) wanted to have a crack at (to use the intermediate tyres). There was a lot of risk involved but as a team we were happy to split the cars. It was right on the bubble, and he got the lap in. He did a great job."

David Croft on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "How can Webber swim through these conditions? Is that the Australian in the cockpit or is it Ian Thorpe? That is a truly sensational effort from Webber, who is on pole by an absolutely massive margin."

1019: A stunning 1:49.327 lap earns Red Bull's Mark Webber pole position, then, and Nico Rosberg will start on the front row for the first time in his career after a 1:50.673 in his Mercedes. Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel is third, Adrian Sutil fourth in his Force India, and the impressive Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Williams. Michael Schumacher, by the way, is eighth - out-performed by his team-mate yet again. What a session that was.

Chequered flag

1017: This is impressive from Mark Webber, whose tyre choice is paying dividends - he is gripping the track beautifully.

1016: Mark Webber - on the intermediates - goes fastest with a 1:50.451. Nico Rosberg now second and Sebastian Vettel third.

1015: With more than two minutes to go, it's Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello top of the timings.

1014: Adrian Sutil sets the benchmark with a 1:51.238.

1013: Adrian Sutil looking the fastest man out there as it stands, though Robert Kubica looks good too.

1012: Robert Kubica puts in a nice first sector, Nico Rosberg similarly in the second. No lap times on the board as yet.

1010: Force India's Tonio Liuzzi leads things off as we resume with seven minutes remaining in the session... all cars on wets by the look of things.

1008: With more than a minute to go until the resumption, the Force Indias are lined up ready to go.

Renault Paddock Pass on Twitter: "Temperatures have fallen: 24 track temp, 26 air temp, humidity still high at 72."

Lucas di Grassi on Twitter: "Difficult day. Lots of problems. We almost didn't run qualifying trying to fix the car. Good effort from the mechanics, really impressive."

1004: There's your five-minute warning folks. The session will restart at 1010 BST.

f1fanatic_co_uk on Twitter: "The heaviest rain has now passed over the circuit."

1001: BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz, meanwhile, reports that the rain has eased off. There will be, however, a five-minute warning given to the teams before any resumption and that has not yet been given, despite the fact that racing could probably take place in the current conditions.

0958: By the way, we have seven minutes 17 seconds left in the session, should we resume. In theory we can on until 1900 local time, midday our time, to get this done - although the light will have a say on things, obviously. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, is heard on the team radio describing conditions as "ridiculous".

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "This does look like the sort of thing we've had all week - a 20-minute storm. Whether or not it will be light enough to resume after that is another matter, it's pretty dark out there."

0954: So Q3 is stopped and Race Control indicate an "Indefinite Delay". There is a lot of standing water on the track, to be fair.

0953: Well well well... we suspect it's because of the conditions, but no-one is really sure. Will we have time to squeeze a few more laps in yet?

0952: RED FLAG

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Sorry to be negative but I really hope the rain stops, because if they go off in their current positions with Vettel on pole surrounded by what are basically uncompetitive cars he will just disappear off into the distance."

0950: Right then, Q3, here we go.

francescolombo on Twitter: "Please welcome Mr Kamui Kobayashi into the drivers' top 10 and Q3. Surely he's got good chances to prove himself."

0947: Can we just get our heads around this for a second? What a race we have in store on Sunday huh? The Red Bulls possibly leading from the front, Mercedes close in and chasing, the Ferraris and McLarens pushing from the rear of the grid... oh my days...

Club Force India on Twitter: "For the first time this season, both Force India cars advance to Q3!"

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "P15 for Heikki (Kovalainen) - we will take that."

0944: But enough it is for Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, who scrapes into Q3. Those not as fortunate are Vitaly Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock and Jenson Button.

0943: Nervous wait for Michael Schumacher, whose final lap of 1:48.400 only keeps him 10th...

0941: Mark Webber is up into seventh. Michael Schumacher is 10th, though, and on the brink...

0940: Less than two minutes to go and this is changing all the time. Oh I love it.

0939: Red Bull's Mark Webber is currently in trouble in 12th with a 1:48.898.

0938: With lightning in the background, the rain is picking up once again.

0937: With less than five minutes of Q2 to go, Sebastian Vettel - chasing a hat-trick of pole positions - sticks his Red Bull top of the charts with a 1:47.003, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil, Michael Schumacher and the Renaults.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on Five Live sports extra: "For sure we need to avoid these type of mistakes. We really thought the rain had finished so we waited in the garage but it got heavier. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the race is tomorrow - we saw last week in Melbourne that we can get results from the back of the grid so we will just have to make sure we do that."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa on Five Live sports extra: "We were waiting for the rain to stop before we went back out, but it just got heavier. It was a mistake and the wrong call."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on Five Live sports extra: "It was treacherous out there. We were sliding around and aquaplaning everywhere. Of course with hindsight we would have gone out earlier, but hindsight is a wonderful thing..."

0934: Renault's Vitaly Petrov is top of the timings with a 1:48.760 - nearly two seconds quicker than Michael Schumacher.

0933: Sebastian Vettel, who has set a 1:51.814 on the wets, comes in for intermediates. He is currently sixth and safe for Q3.

0932: Speak of the devil, Michael Schumacher is top of the timings with the circuit still very wet. He's got a lap of 1:50.611 in the bank. Saying that, the times are coming down and Nico Hulkenberg sets the fastest times on the first two sectors before he is held up by Timo Glock's spin and that ruins what would've been a fine lap.

0930: By the way, how silly does Harry's bet at 0710 now? Let me tell you - not very.

0929: With Q2 now under way, we're all still getting our heads around this potential grid. Jenson Button, by the way, is out of qualifying after spinning on to the gravel earlier and therefore will start in 17th.

Anthony Davidson on BBC radio 5 live Sports Extra: "Really it's cockiness for not going out there in the early stages, look at Sebastian Vettel he went out early tip-toed around didn't make any mistakes and got a banker lap in, these guys have got some of the biggest brains in Formula 1 but sometimes they don't do the simplest things."

Jenson Button on BBC One: "We read it wrong basically. We thought that first rain storm was it and there was nothing else coming so we waited, and it was obviously the wrong thing to do."

Anthony Davidson on BBC radio 5 live Sports Extra: "There are some great stories from F1's past about engineers getting the weather wrong, all they really need to do is look up at the sky but they insist on doing it all on their lap tops."

Eddie Jordan on BBC One: "I'm sorry, but there is no excuse for that from Ferrari and McLaren. I don't care what your strategy, put a lap in the bank."

0923: That is a major error from Ferrari and McLaren. Terrific effort from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to get as near as they did but it's not good enough - and Felipe Massa is gone too. Those knocked out in Q1 in this order, then: Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi.

0921: Two world champions - Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton - are OUT. How much confidence did Lewis Hamilton say he had in his team this week?

0919: It's not good enough from Lewis Hamilton - he is 21st now. His and the Ferraris' only hope is that it has now stopped raining. Is it warm enough to dry the track immediately?

0918: Fernando Alonso has spun! That could well see him out of it, he is P20 right now.

0916: So, as it stands, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are all out of it. Hamilton is told a 1:52 is what is needed.

0915: I tell you what, it is looking really wet out there. If you are outside the top 17 as it stands you are struggling.

0913: Michael Schumacher has just been sent out on full wets.

0912: The McLaren plan was to send their drivers out for five laps and hope the time would come that they could set fast times. Well, the crane is out for Jenson Button's car now and the Briton has already been pushed into 13th. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is well out of it.

0911: Jenson Button - in 12th - aqua-planes off the track and he is stuck - yes STUCK - in the gravel.

0910: Have the favourites out-thought themselves? If this track does not dry out, we could be looking at a raft of big-name casulaties. Lewis Hamilton takes a spin coming out of the final corner and is outside the top 17 as it stands.

0909: Renault's Robert Kubica tops the charts with a 1:46.283, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Sebastian Vettel. The McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes struggling to match the leading sector times with the track very wet now.

0908: And here come Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber. It is still raining and, if anything, it's a little harder now than a moment ago.

0907: Here come the big boys... Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Lucas Di Grassi the only drivers left in the pits now.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "It's definitely going to dry off, remember we have a track temperature of 29 degrees. I think it will dry off a lot quicker here in Malaysia than it would at Silverstone."

0906: The McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes continue to sit in the pits, as does Mark Webber. Sebastian Vettel - in P8 as it stands - continues to run.

0905: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completes a lap but he is only third fastest with a 1:50.466.

0904: It has stopped raining just behind the pit lane. Vitaly Petrov spins on Turn Two, but gets going again. Sebastien Buemi sets the first time of Q1 with a 1:48.945.

0902: Among the big boys, Sebastian Vettel is out, Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber is not. Both McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes also in the pits, still.

InsideFerrari on Twitter: "With these conditions, it will be crucial to choose the right time to run."

0900: Q1 gets under way. CHARGE!!!!

0858: The weather reports are that the current rain is as bad as it will get for the time being, and that we could well see a dry Q3. Still expect a stampede onto the track in two minutes... By the way, current forecasts suggest thunderstorms an hour into Sunday's race. Brilliant.

Official Mercedes GP on Twitter: "Rain is back... For how long? Track Temp 33°C, Humidity 60%."

shivamlm on Twitter: "Gut feeling that Adrian Sutil will be in the top five come then end of qualifying today."

0853: And, as I'm saying that, it starts to rain in Kuala Lumpur.

0851: Clarification on that tyre chat, below. The rule is that if teams set their fastest time in Q3 on dry tyres, they must start the race on those same dry tyres IF the race starts in the dry. If drivers set their fastest times on wet tyres, however, they have a free choice of tyres come race time. So, in short, if it rains, tyre use will be free. Bosh. Done. Jubbly.

sarahholtf1 on Twitter: "We believe that if rain hits qualifying, then teams will have a free choice of tyres for the race but we shall know for sure later."

0845: Weather watch continues. In fact, weather watch, pardon the pun, snowballs. The latest chat is that it will rain at the start of qualifying before drying out for P1 (that's from Lotus Racing chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne). Beware - that can and probably change (again).

Renault Paddock Pass on Twitter: "Is it going to rain during qualifying? Big clouds over us, humidity is rising..."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Rain expected before the session now."

Club Force India on Twitter: "Very dark clouds gathering and everyone is looking at the skies and the radar for some clues. Still not raining yet."

0839: And more from Ross Brawn, this time on his Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher: "Nico is keeping Michael honest, we are really pleased with him. He is very intense and applies himself well. Michael is taking a little while to settle in but he is getting better each race - we are definitely seeing progress. I expect our drivers to be very close in qualifying, we just need to give them a car."

0835: BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz, meanwhile, asks Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey if he would say the car was too fragile after the reliability problems suffered by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber so far this season. Newey responds: "Possibly, but the things that have tripped us up so far haven't been the things that would be the result of aggressive design or development."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Forecast saying no rain for 30 mins, looks like it will happen some time in qualifying."

0831: So, after Christian Horner repeats to our BBC One team that he does not believe his team have broken any rules with the set-up of their car amid accusations of a trick ride-height system, here are Ross Brawn's thoughts on the issue: "The biggest change you can make is in tyre pressures. If you run them low in qualifying, you reduce the ride height, then you can raise it again for the race. It would be a good issue to clear up with the FIA to clear up any concerns and find out what's acceptable. I personally don't have any doubts but it's good to clear these things up."

0827: While the BBC team chat away to Ross Brawn (more on that in a bit) may I remind you of the winners so far this season - Fernando Alonso in Bahrain and Jenson Button in Australia. Will we see a third different winner in the third race this weekend, I wonder? In the overall standings, Fernando Alonso leads the way on 37 points, ahead of Felipe Massa (33), Jenson Button (31), Lewis Hamilton (23) and Nico Rosberg (20).

geow_fcht on Twitter: "Hoping Robert Kubica continues his good form after last Sunday's race in Australia."

0821: Hhmm - it would appear Red Bull boss Christian Horner is most concerned, then, about Fernando Alonso. Not Lewis Hamilton, not Jenson Button, not Felipe Massa or a Mercedes, but Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Right or wrong, people?

Red Bull boss Christian Horner on BBC One: "This weekend is important for us. The comforting thing is that Fernando (Alonso) has not won both races, but it is important that we pick up some good points this weekend. I don't want our drivers to change what they are doing, Sebastian (Vettel) is in great form and Mark Webber's pace is excellent, we need to make sure we give them a car that can get to the finish."

Club Force India on Twitter: "Rain watch: it's not raining."

0813: Wardrobe update for you lot without the benefit of our TV pictures. David Coulthard is absolutely dominating a tight, white pair of trousers in a way most of us can only dream about, while Eddie Jordan is suffering in the searing heat in a blue shirt in a way most of us can only sympathise with. Jake is resplendent in a purple number - cool.

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Less than an hour to go, just had a short shower."

0809: It goes without saying, of course, that should qualifying start in the dry but with a severe threat of rain in the latter stages, we can expect some hot laps from all the teams from the off. Everyone will want fast times on the board early doors in fear of the qualifying being abandoned, so I can't stress this enough - do not miss a minute.

NobleF1 on Twitter: "Looks like lots of rain is en route to Sepang - just in time for qualifying."

0805: By the way, I do hope you've given F1 commentator Jonathan Legard's blog a glance? "Malaysia has the potential for just as much drama as Melbourne," says the big man, and oh how we hope he's right. He also offers his thoughts on the pressure on Red Bull, McLaren's F-duct system, the relationship between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari and Renault, among other things. Big.

JTSimpkin on Twitter: "Red Bull one-two if their cars can make it, also Hamilton on the podium. Excited already and it's only 8:00 in the morning!"

0800: Ladies, gentlemen, pets and inanimate objects - Jake Humphrey and the team are live. Get involved.

M15terRoboto on Twitter: "Been awake since 4, hope it's a good quali session to keep me awake! Dark horse Felipe for pole."

0757: And with BBC pictures now less than five minutes away (I sincerely hope you've been practising your air guitar) I bring you news that our very own David Coulthard is set to return to the race track this season having signed to drive for Mercedes in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). Now, about that air guitar...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "They say the British are obsessed with the weather but here the chance of rain ahead of qualifying is the hot topic in every language. We understand the rules of rain to be as follows. If it comes down at 1600 local time (0800 BST) to delay qualifying, then there is a three-hour window to get the job done. If it's not safe to get out on track in that time then qualifying will be held on Sunday morning. If the first qualifying session opens but no times are set then the teams will also come back on Sunday. If times are set from Q1 onwards, but the weather prevents the third session taking place, then those times will dictate how the grid will be formed for the race."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "In debrief, both cars had a problem with the front wing flap, but simple to fix. Heikki (Kovalainen) also ran wide and lost a bargeboard."

levite on Twitter: "I hope Harry (below) gave his money a hug and a kiss before he said goodbye to it!"

0750: How do people, been up to much in the past half hour or so? Qualifying is due to get under way in just over an hour - and the only thing that can stop it is the weather. If you haven't been keeping across the forecast and all that it means for our F1 teams out there, give Ian Fergusson's Kuala Lumpur weather blog a look. Jubbly.

0710: Right then, with qualifying due for 0900 BST, our TV coverage kicks-off at 0800 BST on BBC One. I will be back at 0750 BST to bring you all the latest chat - make sure you join me then. In the interim, why not have a read of our latest F1 gossip column to tick you by over your tea and bacon butties? Rumour has it that US F1 has ceased operations, citing "serious economic and funding challenges". Ouch.

VirginRacing on Twitter: "Top of the job list before Qualifying? Drink shedloads!"

Harry, UK, via text: "I've placed a £1000 bet on Schumacher to take pole today - full confidence in the man in Malaysia."

Five Live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Speed-wise, yes, Red Bull can - and possibly should - win this. Reliability-wise I don't know. That's the big question and it's keeping us excited for the season. But they certainly have the speed to do it."

0705: By the way, bottom of the pile after that session, was Karun Chandhok's Hispania - 6.353 seconds off Mark Webber's pace at the top of the timings. It's not all bad, though - Friday was Hispania's first trouble-free day of the season so far. Nice.

InsideFerrari on Twitter: "Top eight drivers within six-tenths of each other. It will be a very interesting qualifying session."

0702: So Mark Webber finishes third and final practice as the fastest man of the session - and weekend - with a 1:33.542, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello and Robert Kubica complete the top 10.

Chequered flag
0700: But it's not enough and the German stays third fastest. That's the chequered flag. Heikki Kovalainen's earlier problem, by the way, was a front wing element.

0659: Sebastian Vettel is tearing up trees on his sector times now, though...

0658: With just over a minute to go, pace-setters Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber are back in the pits. Sebastian Vettel is still out there, but he's not tearing up any trees over the last couple of sectors.

0656: Mark Webber is the fastest man on the charts with a 1:33.542 now - Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel goes third fastest, despite being held up by a bit of traffic. Ominous for their rivals?

0655: A bit of body work flies off Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus - possibly a barge board or something - but the Finn keeps going.

0654: Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg emerge for a couple of hot laps.

0653: Mark Webber - on the softs, but carrying who knows how much fuel - goes second fastest with a 1:33.630. Fernando Alonso goes fourth fastest.

f1fanatic_co_uk on Twitter: "More cars now doing runs on soft tyres - we should see some hot times now."

VirginRacing on Twitter: "Timo Glock in for a quick turnaround with a damper change. Not long left so we need to be quick. Sky looks OK from pitlane."

InsideFerrari on Twitter: "Fernando out now on soft tyres."

0649: And Adrian Sutil goes 10th fastest on the option tyres with a 1:34.792. Rain possibly missing the track again, now, with just over 10 minutes left. Most teams still keeping their powder dry at the moment, though, nonetheless.

0647: Adrian Sutil is about to set a hot lap in his Force India.

0645: The Ferraris and Red Bulls sit outside the top four, but neither driver in either team has yet set a time on the option tyres. Everyone, bar the odd Force India, back in the pits now, with rain imminent.

InsideFerrari on Twitter: "A better second run for both drivers, considering that current top four already used soft tyres."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "Hello again. There's one driver pedalling around in practice who has competed in every single Malaysian Grand Prix since it joined the calendar in 1999 and his name is… Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian finished fifth for the Stewart team 11 years ago and the Williams driver describes the circuit thus: 'It's got some great types of corners, you go from very high speed to low speed and you have to have a balance on the braking.' He was also asked if he had any advice for Nico Rosberg, who is working with his former race engineer Jock Clear at Mercedes, who Barrichello raced for last year when the team were named Brawn. He said: 'Maybe tell Jocky not to punch the helmet before the race as he goes (thump) 'good luck'. The sound isn't great inside the helmet.' Rosberg replied: 'He hasn't done that to me yet, but I will tell him.' Nothing like quality advice from a more experienced driver, eh?"

0640: Michael Schumacher - I suspect on the option tyres - goes second fastest with a 1:33.992, with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg just behind in 1:34.090. The Renaults of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov, by the way, are down in 15th and 17th despite looking in decent shape in Friday's practices.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz on Sebastian Vettel: "The German's earlier problem was the sticky tape they put around the 'cake tin' that caught the rim, desponded itself and fell off the car. Slightly worrying because if that happened in the race it could cause something else to fail and that could be another reliability failure for Red Bull."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Shower just missed the circuit. Both cars on second runs still on prime tyres."

0636: Jenson Button is now second on the timings with a 1:34.113 - but McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton continues to take milliseconds off his sector times. Fernando Alonso - still on the hard tyres - just set his best first sector time of the day but can only go third on the charts with a 1:34.207.

Tony Fernandes on Twitter: "(Jarno) Trulli just did 1.38.040 - good time. Looks to be improving this lap. (Heikki) Kovalainen steady."

0633: Lewis Hamilton is the first man of the weekend into the 1:33s with a 1:33.559 - fastest sector times on all three sectors from the Briton in his McLaren.

0632: As Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest first-sector time of the weekend - beating Fernando Alonso's earlier effort - here's our pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: ""Something attached itself to the carbon fibre surround, the "cake tin", around the front left brake disc of Sebastian Vettel's car earlier. We're not sure exactly what it was but there is definitely damage and the mechanics are just looking at it now. They'll put some tape or seal on it and Vettel should be good to go again soon."

0631: With less than half an hour of the session left, here's your top six: Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel, Webber and Button.

MK via text: "A little dampness is what's needed to add that extra portion of spice to this Malay affair!"

VirginRacing on Twitter: "A camber change on Timo (Glock)'s car. A front spring change for Lucas (Di Grassi). It's impressive how quickly this can be done."

0628: Jenson Button is being brought in with McLaren tipping rain "in five minutes" - he will go straight back out on the option tyres.

0626: Vitaly Petrov is caught out when his rear-end gives out around a high-speed corner and the Russian's Renault is forced into the gravel. Not great signs of the Renault's stability?

0625: And now Lewis Hamilton is top of the timings with a 1:34.029 - the fastest time of the weekend so far. I don't want to bolt too early and all that, but this is looking competitive...

f1fanatic_co_uk on Twitter: "Vettel's got something flapping around on his front left wheel. Something he's picked up or something broken on the RB6?"

0623: And Michael Schumacher is now third fastest with a 1:34.711 in his Mercedes. The early signs are that Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes are all looking good in Kuala Lumpur.

0622: Lewis Hamilton posts his first lap of the day with a 1:34.598 - just 0.084 behind current pace-setter Fernando Alonso. Jenson Button goes fifth fastest to split the Red Bulls and Felipe Massa.

Five Live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Felipe Massa had a great qualifying in Bahrain but since then we haven't seen the pace we know he has got. I don't know if the mind games Fernando Alonso is so good at playing are starting to take an effect. Something seems to have changed in Massa's mindset in that car."

Renault Paddock Pass on Twitter: "Both cars on track for the first run."

0617: With Friday's impressers McLaren and Mercedes yet to post a time, the Ferraris and Red Bulls are making hay. Fernando Alonso is top of the charts with a 1:34.678, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Felipe Massa in that order.

Five Live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Every driver on the grid would give anything to go at full throttle through Turns Five and Six. Webber has just done that and that's a sign of a very good car."

0614: Mark Webber already has his foot firmly on the pedal in his Red Bull and he has the fastest time on the board with a 1:34.920. The fastest lap of yesterday, lest we forget, was Lewis Hamilton's 1:34.175, while Jenson Button bagged pole in Malaysia last year with a 1:35.181. Hhmmm.

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "I had a surreal five minutes with Timo Glock at Virgin Racing's motorhome. He was showing me how he keeps cool in the horrendous temperatures and humidity here at Sepang. The clever driver has his own 'whirlpool' which is basically an inflatable paddling pool in the shape of a dinosaur! He calls it 'Timo's Spa' and it has been designed with its own mini palm tree in the corner. You can watch all the evidence on the BBC during Sunday's race programme."

0613: Our live video at the top of this page is working again folks, one more manual refresh and you should be sorted. Thank you for your patience guys.

0611: Mark Webber, by the way, will be running with a new Renault engine in his Red Bull today after yesterday's problems, but team boss Christian Horner appears unperturbed: "Mark got a pretty good read from Sebastian (Vettel)'s run on the option type yesterday, and he was happy with car. We've made some set-up changes overnight which they're getting to test this morning. Mark's always gone well here, he was unlucky last week in Melbourne. He's motivated - I saw him going for a run this morning which is pretty intense in these conditions. The most important thing is they've both got the pace. Our race objective is simple, we want both drivers at the front of the grid."

0609: No times set as yet, but a listen to Pedro de la Rosa's team radio tells us that BMW Sauber believes rain is "a few kilometres away so we better get on with it".

0606: By the way, you will need to manually refresh this page to see our link to the live video on the right-hand side.

sarahholtf1 on Twitter: "No times set yet in third practice. Wondering if Ferrari will unleash their pace before qualifying after Friday's suspected heavy fuel runs."

0605: While we have problems with our video at the top of the page, our UK users can click on the link on the right-hand side to our alternative live video. Cheers.

DerekLoirmer on Twitter: "Looking forward to qualifying this evening. Hopefully our local hero Mark Webber can put it on pole."

InsideFerrari on Twitter: "Here we are for the last free practice session. Both drivers are doing their installation laps. Sky is cloudy."

0600: Practice gets under way with a pair of Lotus Racings leading a pack of early cars on to the track.

0559: With third and final practice imminent, I can also bring you news from our pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz that there is a 95% chance of rain before qualifying. Nice. If, by the way, qualifying is unable to take place today should the rains turn monsoon-esque, it will be run from 0900 local time (0200 BST) on race day. Ouch.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "What a lovely start to the day it has been in Sepang, strolling through the paddock with the sun shining and the birds singing. The serenity was soon broken by bursts of drilling air-guns and the arrival of the masses a couple of hours before practice. Top of Saturday's agenda is, of course, getting the weather forecast right ahead of qualifying at 1600 Malaysian time - 0900 BST. My rain diary from the last five days records wet weather between 1500 and 1720 and yesterday there was a brief but violent dousing at 1250. Everybody is also eager to discover the outcome of Friday's meeting between the team bosses to discuss a possible return of the Kers energy storage and power-boost systems in 2011 and French tyre supplier Michelin. Fingers crossed McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, boss of the teams' organisation Fota, will reveal more during the TV qualifying show which starts on BBC One at 0800 BST."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Forecast saying no rain for next 30mins."

0555: Right now, the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius with 50% humidity. It is getting steamy.

0553: It would appear we have a few problems with our streaming video... our technical wizards are beavering...

leeboy910 on Twitter: "Can Schuey do us all a favour and just stick it on pole this afternoon??"

0549: Now then, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was the man of the moment on Friday - and not because he was pulling stunts in the car park. The Briton topped both first and second practice, with team-mate Jenson Button and the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg also impressing. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel put a few power-steering problems to one side to set the second fastest time of the day in the second session, but his team-mate Mark Webber was not so fortunate, having to sit it out with a broken engine. Ferrari? I suspect today will show their true speed...

Alan, Birmingham, via text: "I wonder if Ferrari have been sandbagging?"

elliotbaum on Twitter: "This is only a sane start time if you decided to get an early night. Some of us just decided to stay up."

0542: So listen, I know it's early, but let's crank this puppy up a notch and get you good people involved. For now, text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), or get down with the kids 'n that by Tweeting me. You and I both know you want to.

MyLotusRacing on Twitter: "Can it get any hotter?"

Rory Underwood
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "Former England wing Rory Underwood, who won 85 caps, put his safe hands to good use in pit-stop practice with Lotus early on Saturday morning. Underwood went to school with team boss Tony Fernandes in Kuala Lumpur before the family moved back to the UK and his old mate soon got him back to work. 'They were thinking of putting me in the car so all I'd have to do is press the brake,' he said. 'I wasn't expecting to get hold of the air gun and do the tyres.

"'You're kneeling down, it's very hot and the car is going backwards and forwards. It's a tricky job. To hear that the Red Bull guys are getting it down to nearly three seconds is incredible.' Underwood was helping out Toni Scott, who is the only female mechanic currently working in the paddock and whose job it is to remove the front-right wheel on Heikki Kovalainen's car. As Underwood exited the Lotus pit-box, mopping his brow, he was asked 'Good job, what are you doing on Sunday?' 'Watching the race,' he sensibly replied."

VirginRacing on Twitter: "Time to put the headset on. FP3 starting in 25 mins. We have a new fuel pickup modification so will be testing that."

MikeGascoyne on Twitter: "Very hot here today, with the chance of showers increasing from now."

0532: The first thing to tell you, is that this morning in Kuala Lumpur has been an absolute steamer - which more often than not means rain late in the day. And with qualifying scheduled for 1600 local time (0900 BST), that could spice things up rather nicely. Before all that, we have third and final practice in just under half an hour (0600 BST) and right now the sun is blazing with barely a whisper of the white stuff up above. Not that I'd rather be out there to enjoy it, oh no...

0530: Well this is a little more of a sane start time, isn't it? I mean, it's still not ideal, but at least I won't need matchsticks to keep my eyes open for this morning's final practice ahead of qualifying. I hope.

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
We made the wrong call - Button
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Webber masters rain to grab pole
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Malaysian GP qualifying photos
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Coulthard to make racing return
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton heads Vettel in practice
02 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Malaysian GP practice as it happened
02 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton retains faith in McLaren
01 Apr 10 |  Formula 1

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