Sepang : Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus put on a strong performance in the two practice sessions of the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, following his outstanding two-stop victory in Melbourne last week.
The Finnish driver was second fastest in the first practice but the quickest in second practice, with the best lap time of 1:36.569 at the Sepang International.
James Allison, Lotus technical director, said Raikkonen was very relaxed and confident going into the season.
"He drove the race incredibly patiently as I think he knew he had a good car," Allison told a press conference after the practice sessions. "He looks after the tyres and only goes quickly when he needs to."
Three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel continued his steady performance, recording the second and third best times in the two sessions.
His Red Bull teammate Mark Webber set the fastest lap time in the morning before dropping to the fifth place in the afternoon.
Fernando Alonso, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year, was fourth during the whole of practice. The other Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was third in the second practice after being seventh fastest in the morning.
The teams were conducting tests on the hard-compound tyres in the morning, before putting on the medium-compound tyres in the second session. A heavy downpour in the afternoon also provided the teams with chances to test the wet tyres.
The third practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday.