Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton felt the team made some 'positive steps' on Friday during practice for the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix

Hamilton managed 50 laps of the Sepang International Circuit during the two sessions, and while a brief rain shower caused a bit of disruption mid-day through P2, he was still 'happy with the direction' the team is going in.

Furthermore while he finished behind team-mate, Nico Rosberg, there wasn't much in it, with the two split by just 0.126 seconds on the combined times, the difference between P7 and P9 on the leaderboard.

"We made some positive steps with the set-up over the two sessions today," Hamilton confirmed. "I had a good long run in the dry which has given us a lot of information to look at tonight. We didn't learn too much in the wet this afternoon however as the conditions were quite mixed when I went out

"We focused mainly on longer runs today so I haven't done a quick lap yet on either set of tyres; that will come tomorrow. I'm happy with the direction that we're going and let's see what the weekend brings."

Rosberg meanwhile added that the main priority was race preparation rather than qualifying: "We worked a lot on our long run pace today, rather than being quick over one lap. As we saw in Melbourne, tyre management will be the key to success, so that's our focus for the practice sessions.

"The conditions were tough out there and the heat is unbelievable. Generally we learnt a lot today but we still have some homework to do tonight and tomorrow."

"We've had a good first day in Sepang," summarised Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn. "The programme focused on understanding the performance and consistency of the tyres and we learnt a lot today which will be relevant for the race on Sunday.

"The running was a little compromised by the conditions this afternoon but we had anticipated that and managed to get most of our work done before the rain came. Overall, I'm reasonably happy with the work that we achieved today."