F1 » Rosberg tops FP1 as dramatic Renault fire disrupts session 30 September 2016
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.
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.
Full free practice results (1) for round 16 of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship (F1), the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.
1. Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 35.227s
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 35.721s
3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 36.315s
4. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 36.331s
5. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m 36.510s
6. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-TAG 1m 36.753s
7. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull-TAG 1m 36.973s
8. Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1m 37.513s
9. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m 37.601s
10. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m 37.613s
11. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 37.847s
12. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m 37.861s
13. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari 1m 37.886s
14. Esteban Gutierrez MEX Haas-Ferrari 1m 37.921s
15. Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 38.055s
16. Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber-Ferrari 1m 38.184s
17. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m 38.313s
18. Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1m 38.339s
19. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault-Renault 1m 39.148s
20. Esteban Ocon FRA Manor-Mercedes 1m 40.036s
21. Pascal Wehrlein GER Manor-Mercedes 1m 40.627s
22. Kevin Magnussen DEN Renault-Renault No Time
Read more at F1 Results - Malaysian Grand Prix ? Free practice results (1)
Read more at F1 News - Rosberg tops FP1 as dramatic Renault fire disrupts session