The two Mercedes drivers returned to the top of the time sheets for the opening day of practice ahead of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix with Nico Rosberg leading his triple world champion teammate by almost half a second.
The two Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth respectively with the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, with his new upgraded Honda engine, in fifth.
He was however, still almost 1.3 seconds off Rosberg’s pace. Hamilton was the only one in the top five that was not running Pirelli’s soft compound rubber.
The session was actually red flagged just a few minutes in when the Renault of Kevin Magnussen burst into flames as they were pushing the car and driver back into his pit stop.
Magnussen quickly jumped out as mechanics proceeded to put the fire out, however fuel was spilling out from the top of the engine cover and the car continued to ignite. Due to the hazard it presented, officials eventually red flagged the race until the situation was under control.
"We had a fuel leak from a breather and we were running some experimental parts for Mexico," Renault technical chief Nick Chester told Sky F1. "But everyone is ok and that's the main thing. Fortunately the car doesn't seem to be too badly damaged."
Practice one times:
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:35.227
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, + 0.494
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 1.088
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 1.104
5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1.283
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 1.526
7. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, + 1.746
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 2.286
9. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 2.374
10. Jenson Button, McLaren, + 2.386
11. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, + 2.620
12. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 2.634
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 2.659
14. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, + 2.694
15. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, + 2.828
16. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, + 2.957
17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 3.086
18. Felipe Massa, Williams, + 3.112
19. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, + 3.921
20. Esteban Ocon, Manor, + 4.809
21. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, + 5.400
22. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, no time set