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Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of first practice for the Russian Grand Prix during a close opening session at the Sochi circuit.

F1 turned its attentions back to on-track matters following events at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Marussia running only one car as Jules Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital. On a new circuit, Rosberg set a best time of 1:42.311 to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.065s in FP1.

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Jenson Button was immediately quick - posting a time over a second faster than anyone else in the opening half hour - before being shuffled back to third place for McLaren, less than 0.2s off the pace. With track conditions slippery on the new circuit, Button did have a spin at Turn 8 but managed to continue without damage.

Fernando Alonso was once again quick on Friday morning for Ferrari, setting the fourth fastest time which was 0.2s adrift of Button. Kevin Magnussen was fifth as McLaren enjoyed a strong start to the race weekend, with Sergio Perez sixth and Daniil Kvyat seventh on his home circuit.

Kimi Raikkonen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten, although Bottas had his running limited by a strange problem. Having returned to the garage after nine laps, a tyre blanket malfunction led to Bottas' next set of tyres being ruined and causing a premature end to his session.

The two Red Bull's didn't feature in the top ten, with Daniel Ricciardo 12th and Sebastian Vettel 14th, while there were impressive performances from the two replacement drivers in the session. Sergey Sirotkin made his FP1 debut for Sauber and was 0.4s off team-mate Adrian Sutil, while Roberto Merhi was quicker than Marcus Ericsson at Caterham.

Merhi did have a spin at Turn 15 - just managing to keep the rear of the car away from the barrier - but he was not alone in having trouble as a number of drivers ran off on a track low on grip.

The sole Marussia of Max Chilton was slowest, 4.9s off the pace at the start of what Chilton said will be a "very emotional" weekend for the team. The other side of the garage housed Bianchi's car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race but will stay on display as a tribute to the Frenchman.