Rosberg fastest, Hamilton breaks down in Sepang F1 first practice

A sweet and sour start to the Malaysian GP weekend for Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton’s car failure offset Nico Rosberg’s fastest time.

Rosberg fastest, Hamilton breaks down in Sepang F1 first practice
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T running flow-vis paint on the rear wing
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23

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 
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1'40.124   20
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1'40.497 0.373 17
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1'40.985 0.861 13
Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1'41.543 1.419 14
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1'41.596 1.472 26
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1'41.787 1.663 15
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1'41.803 1.679 23
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1'41.882 1.758 23
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1'42.055 1.931 18
10  Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1'42.064 1.940 16
11  Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1'42.103 1.979 23
12  Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1'42.567 2.443 19
13  R.Marciello Sauber/Ferrari 1'42.621 2.497 13
14  Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1'42.885 2.761 20
15  Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1'42.893 2.769 13
16  Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1'43.054 2.930 15
17  Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1'43.100 2.976 19
18  Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1'46.686 6.562 8
19  Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1'47.683 7.559 8
20  Lewis Hamilton Mercedes   - 4
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