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Lewis Hamilton shrugged off a lack of track time to post the fastest lap time on the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

The defending champion missed almost the entire FP1 session after the Mercedes developed a problem, later diagnosed as a power unit inlet system failure, and was initially at risk of missing FP2 as well, only to emerge from the pit lane with plenty of time in hand.

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Once up to speed, Hamilton's maiden run on the medium tyres would see him stop the clock at 1min 39.790secs, leaving him a comfortable three tenths faster than Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari, who ends a positive day for the Scuderia in second place.

Lapping slower than his session-topping time from FP1, Nico Rosberg was third quickest in the second of the Mercedes' and only one tenth up on Daniil Kvyat, though the Russian would end the session having seemingly developed a problem on the Red Bull. Indeed, despite his decent position, Kvyat's problem compounded another worrisome day for the team after Daniel Ricciardo was also forced to call time on FP2 earlier than planned.

Indeed, with track temperatures soaring to almost 60 degrees, several drivers were complaining of a lack of grip and many - including Fernando Alonso - would experience off-course moments as they found the limits of the cars.

Also suffering issues was Sebastian Vettel, who spun at turn 11 shortly after Roberto Merhi had done exactly the same to bring out a red flag. The former champion would hit back to hold down seventh place at the end of the day - behind the Williams' of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa - and ahead of Max Verstappen and Marcus Ericsson in the best of the Toro Rosso and Sauber cars.

Meanwhile, McLaren continued its steady progress with no major issues, Alonso and Jenson Button 2.7 and 2.8secs off the overall pace respectively, but this time behind the Force Indias.

Having made it out on track in FP1, Manor F1 continued to make progress with its MR03, though both Will Stevens and Merhi will face a challenge to make the 107 per cent rule during qualifying.