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Form man Nico Rosberg has opened up top in first free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix following a protracted red flag period necessitated to douse the fiery Renault of Kevin Magnussen in the pit lane.

The Dane was returning to the garage following an installation lap when the Renault appeared to 'puff' smoke coming into the pit lane. Worse was to follow though when the Renault began spewing fluid just behind the airbox and caught alight.

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Forcing Magnussen to eject from the car quickly, Renault mechanics quickly extinguished the flames but with the fluid still pouring from the top of the engine running down the side-pods for the next few minutes, it would continue to catch flame sporadically until it was drained.

With the session red flagged for more than 20mins as the RS16 was eventually extinguished, FP1 was essentially reduced to an hour, with Rosberg quickly hitting the top spot at resumption and remaining there to the chequered flag, despite a trip across the gravel at turn 11 in the closing stages.

Stopping the clock at 1min 35.227s on the resurfaced circuit, Rosberg is already 4.4secs faster than the fastest dry lap time of last year's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton made it a Mercedes 1-2, half a second down on his title rival, with Ferrari third and fourth, closely matched on time in the order of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, but more than a second behind Rosberg.

Utilising an upgraded Honda power unit this weekend, McLaren's Fernando Alonso was an eye-catching fifth best even if he heads into the weekend knowing the engine change leaves him at the back of the grid for the race.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen followed up for Red Bull in sixth and seventh - but did not use the option soft tyre -, with Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Jenson Button rounding out the top ten.