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Nico Rosberg has completed the first day of new Formula 1 World Championship season with the upper hand as his Mercedes team continued to exercise its substantial advantage over the opposition.

Having both emerged more than a second faster than the competition in FP1, Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were once again the class of a depleted field in FP2, the pair moving ahead of early pace setter Sebastian Vettel with 40mins remaining with a 1min 27.697secs lap and keeping their rivals at arm's length.

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The day will serve as a warning for Mercedes' rivals as its strong lap times came easily - two seconds faster than at this stage twelve months ago -, though its protagonists remain otherwise evenly matched, ending up just a tenth apart from one another.

Behind them, Ferrari emerged as 'best of the rest', with Sebastian Vettel settling into his new surroundings seven tenths behind Rosberg - the only driver to stay within a second of the Mercedes' - while Kimi Raikkonen completed Ferrari's positive day in fourth.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top five for Williams, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, the Williams and Red Bull drivers forced to go solo in the afternoon after team-mates Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo were sidelined by technical issues. Both drivers required engines changes on their respective Mercedes and Renault-powered cars, leaving them on the back foot heading into Saturday.

On a difficult day for several teams, Toro Rosso had its own problems, with Max Verstappen completing just six laps, though Carlos Sainz survived a spin at the penultimate corner to go seventh best to complete a strong day for the Spanish rookie

Similarly, Lotus had its issues in the morning but bounced back to have Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean in the top ten in eighth and ninth, while Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was tenth, albeit 2.7secs off the pace.

Meanwhile, as its legal battle rages across the city in court, Sauber confounded expectations by venturing onto track with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson in its cars. Though Ericsson's challenge was ended by problems with the left-rear of his C34, Nasr was at least up to speed with the 11th fastest lap in the Ferrari-powered car.

McLaren-Honda's hopes of getting much needed mileage under its belt, however, were hampered when Kevin Magnussen crashed at turn four after just four laps. The Dane clipped the inside kerb and was sent wide onto the gravel and into the barriers, but was otherwise unhurt.

Nonetheless, Jenson Button was able to complete 21 laps, the British driver down in 13th place - ahead of only the hampered Verstappen, Ericsson and Magnussen -, but a respectable 3.6secs off the pace.

Having missed FP1 as it continues to work on building up its software, Manor F1 once again skipped FP2 meaning it heads into FP3 and qualifying having not left the garage as yet.