Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas said he was pleased to outpace teammate Pastor Maldonado on his debut in a grand prix weekend session, even if free practice times are not very important.
The reigning GP3 champion stepped into Bruno Senna's car at Sepang for the first of 15 planned Friday outings on F1 weekends this season. His time of 1m39.724s was fractions of a second quicker than Maldonado's 1m39.783s, and the Finn described their programs as "quite similar."
"In the end it is only FP1 and FP1 is not normally about lap time," Bottas said at Sepang on Friday. "Of course it is nice [to be quicker], I am still a racing driver and I prefer it that way.
"I wouldn't compare lap times. I love racing so that's why I do it, and it's nice to be in front but that's not the main point. The main point is for the team to get the data and do the setup changes, and for me to do consistent runs and not make a mistake."
"The worst thing would be for me to not go out and run the test plan," he added. "I think my first practice was quite positive, we ran the whole test plan and everything went well like it was supposed to.
"It was nice that everything worked and there were no problems. I got into a smooth rhythm immediately, but I still have a lot to learn so we'll have a good look at things tonight and learn more."