Williams duo Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima were both in buoyant spirits after the Grove-based outfit replicated its Melbourne practice form to storm to the top of the order in FP1 in Sepang ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix – now it just needs to complete the job in qualifying and on race day too.
Having stunned the Formula 1 paddock with a one-two in the very first practice session of the season Down Under seven days' ago, Rosberg and Nakajima went on to prove it was far from a flash in the pan by doing likewise in the Far Eastern heat, ahead of expected contenders Brawn GP, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
Though they would ultimately slip back to perhaps more representative positions of respectively fourth (Rosberg) and eighth at the end of the day, nonetheless it was a highly encouraging start – and proof that in 2009, Williams does not intend allowing its challenge to gradually fade away as has largely happened in recent years.
“We had a very good day and made a lot of set-up changes,” reported Rosberg, just over three tenths of a second shy of the top spot at the close of play on day one. “We made good progress in finding a way forward.
“We also completed a good tyre test, which is important as I think we now have a good idea of what is going on with the tyres for this circuit. Everything worked out well today and of course we all had our first sessions driving in the heat, but I think my fitness preparation over the winter has helped a lot.”
“Today was a very positive day,” echoed team-mate Nakajima, “and we have carried over our competitiveness from the last race. Whether we are as quick relative to where we were in Melbourne remains to be seen, but certainly we are far further ahead than we were here last year and we'll keep pushing on tomorrow and see what more we can find.”