Up and down the pit lane, with a couple of exceptions, it seemed like a normal practice day in Formula 1, with drivers actually talking about the balance of their car and how tyre degradation would be a factor on Sunday, rather than just being pleased to have got the cars back to the pits in one piece.

On this difficult and challenging track, Jev’s experience showed, eventually finishing up 11th on the time sheet, while Daniil was 14th. Our Frenchman was particularly pleased with the performance of the STR9, with the usual proviso that Friday times do not count for much. As for the Russian, he and his engineering crew have yet to get the car perfectly to his liking, but they are confident that some computer-assisted head scratching tonight should see him make progress in tomorrow’s final hour of free practice. These days, it’s hard to keep track of the Formula 1 timetable, what with night races, twighlight races and so forth and Malaysia is no exception to this rule. While today’s sessions got underway at the usual times, tomorrow, everything is shifted a couple of hours, so that FP3 gets underway at 13h00 with the second qualifying session of the season beginning at 16h00 local time. Today, at 16h30 we witnessed a spectacular storm that caused a Porsche race to be red flagged and as the daily weather pattern often repeats itself in this tropical part of the world…