A sweet and sour start to the Malaysian GP weekend for Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton’s car failure offset Nico Rosberg’s fastest time.
Hamilton pulled off in his Mercedes W06 with an engine problem at Turn 5 just before the 30-minute mark, having not set a laptime.
"Something's happened, lost power," he said over the radio.
"There was a click in the rear, the gears still worked, I just pulled over and stopped like you told me to. I would've made it back."
He was then told by his race engineer: "We had no telemetry. We're worried about this as it's a race engine."
Hamilton's car was brought back to the pits on a truck. Each driver is only allowed to use four engines for the entire season.
Rosberg also hit trouble when he ran wide at the Turn 5 hairpin early on, spending quite a while on the astroturf runoff. He recovered to work his way down to a 1:40.124, as teams stuck to the hard-compound Pirelli tyre in this session.
Ferrari raises its game
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen also ran wide during his opening run, this time at Turn 14. He was second fastest with a 1:40.497, just 0.373s off Rosberg's pace and half a second clear of teammate Sebastian Vettel in third.
Romain Grosjean was fourth quickest for Lotus on 1:41.543, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Red Bull's woes continued, although Daniel Ricciardo set the sixth fastest time. The Aussie complained: "Understeer through the medium stuff, but traction is still very weak."
Daniil Kvyat ran wide at Turn 5, and reported of a loss of power. "Something strange is going on with the braking and under power," said the Russian, who was ninth.
Valtteri Bottas seemed to have no reaction to the back trouble that forced him to miss the Australian GP, and was eighth fastest for Williams, two tenths clear of teammate Felipe Massa in 11th and struggled with his drinks tube coming adrift. "That would be a disaster in the race!" he quipped.
Alonso back on track
Fernando Alonso returned to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda for the first time since his Barcelona testing accident, showing he meant business by going straight into a flying lap on his opening run. He had a slight moment at the high-speed Turn 12, and outpaced teammate Jenson Button by 0.3s on his way to 14th fastest time.
Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello made his FP1 debut for Sauber, lapping Melbourne star Felipe Nasr's Ferrari-powered machine within a half a second of 10th-placed teammate Marcus Ericsson on his way to 13th.
Manor Marussia completes 16 laps
Will Stevens put the first lap on a Manor Marussia F1 car, after the team didn't run in Australia, with teammate Roberto Merhi also going out on track. They were both way off the pace, with Stevens 6.5s off Rosberg as they both completed eight laps.
As it was in Melbourne, Force India was off the pace and mired towards the bottom of the times.
Nico Hulkenberg in 15th complained: "Driveability is really poor", while Sergio Perez just kept his car on the track after a lairy moment under braking for Turn 5 and was even slower.
|Pos||Driver||Car / Engine||Time||Gap||Laps|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1'41.596||1.472||26|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1'41.787||1.663||15|
|7||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1'41.803||1.679||23|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1'42.055||1.931||18|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1'42.893||2.769||13|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1'43.054||2.930||15|