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Nico Rosberg has opened up the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix with the fastest time by a comfortable margin as team-mate Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a lap due to an engine problem.

The defending F1 champion, and winner of the Australian Grand Prix opener, was starting his first flying lap when the Mercedes developed an issue, with the team telling him to stop on track to preserve his engine after a separate issue left it with no telemetry data to refer to.

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Failing to make it out on track later in the session as the team got to work on a possible engine change, team-mate Rosberg was left to exert Mercedes' strength on his own, his best time of 1min 40.124secs proving three tenths faster than the opposition, led by the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen had looked capable of unseating Rosberg with a swift final lap after setting the fastest first sector time, but would lose ground over the remainder of the lap to settle for second. Even so, he remained a comfortable five tenths quicker than team-mate Vettel.

Romain Grosjean turned in the fourth fastest time for Lotus after a competitive session that saw him near the front throughout, ahead of Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in the Renault-powered Toro Rossos and Red Bull, the trio 1.5secs off the top of the timesheets.

Making his return to action this weekend, Valtteri Bottas was the fastest Williams driver in eighth, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and top Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson.

Elsewhere, Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello became the first Italian to drive an F1 car on a race weekend since 2011 as he made his debut with Sauber, recording the 13th best time, just behind Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado, who suffered an off at turn one in the closing stages.

Shifting off-track matters back to the race track, Fernando Alonso got his first taste of McLaren-Honda machinery for more than a month following his lengthy absence. It was a positive session for the Spaniard too, proving faster than both Force Indias and Jenson Button, respectable 2.7secs off the ultimate pace.

Meanwhile, Manor made its belated F1 2015 debut with the MR03, with both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi getting a handful of laps in, albeit 6.5 and 7.5secs off the ultimate pace.