Webber tops timesheets as McLaren apologise

The latest from Mark Webber's efforts in Malaysia
The latest from Mark Webber's efforts in Malaysia
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Mark Webber topped the timesheets in first practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday and has received an apology from McLaren for wrecking his chances of victory in the season opener in Australia last weekend.

Aston Clinton’s fastest motorist finished the first session in a best time of 1min 36.935secs, which he could not better in the second session.

He said: “It was a pretty smooth run for us today, but we need to improve and keep finding pace. The slicks were not too bad in those conditions and the crossover point looks quite interesting. The tyres are still the most important thing at the moment – it’s all about those! It’s pretty warm in the car, but if I’m warm, then so is everyone else and in general it’s not as bad as previous years.”

Meanwhile the Aussie has received an apology from rivals McLaren after he and Red Bull were the victims of a software glitch with the Engine Control Unit (ECU) which prevented his car transmitting telemetry back to the pits during the formation lap of the Australian GP.

The lack of data being fed to the garage meant the 36-year-old could not optimise his tyre and brake temperatures on his way to the grid and finding the correct clutch bite point would also have been difficult.

Webber struggled at the start of the race and was passed by both Ferraris, both Mercedes’ and Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus before turn one - dropping from second to seventh. However, it would seem that the driver was not to blame with McLaren admitting the ECU suffered a software problem.

“The electronic units themselves ran without incident in Melbourne, but there was a software-related issue that meant that Mark Webber’s Red Bull Racing car’s garage data system had to be re-started during the formation lap,” a statement from McLaren Electronics read.

“That disrupted his preparations for the start of the race, for which Mark and the team has our apology. We are working together with them to prevent any recurrence.”