Malaysian GP | Rosberg tops FP1 as Magnussen catches fire

Malayisan Grand Prix practice opens with Rosberg on top and a burning Renault.

Rosberg jumped to the top as Magnussen’s Renault caught ablaze at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Leaving Palmer alone to carry out the Enstone team’s program, while fellow Brit, Hamilton, left the session half a second off the pace.

The session had barely begun before the red flag was out for Magnussen’s burning car.

Magnussen had returned to the pits and was rolling down the fast lane as smoke began to creep out of the engine cover. But as he was slowly rolled back into the garage, his team stopped in their steps and Kevin leapt out the car as flames started to flicker.

It appeared to be a fuel line that runs along the airbox had somehow broke while the team ran a high fuel load and experimental parts to prepare for the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix.

The breather problem within the fuel line caused pressure to build and fuel to pour from the top of the car, setting fire in the morning heat. Luckily, the Renault crew and nearby fire marshals rapidly responded to pour coolant all over the car – controlling the situation.

The team were careful not to get too close to the burning car as the fire continued to sporadically engage. But to help ease the situation, the team drained the car of any remaining fuel. Before rolling the burnt car back into the garage and the session restarted.

The red flag for Magnussen’s pit lane fire lasted for nearly 20 minutes. Hampering all teams early running.

But once the session was back underway, Rosberg was setting the pace as he moved top by two-seconds of Verstappen’s early benchmark. The Red Bull’s time was, however, on the medium compound Pirellis rather than the softs used by Rosberg.

Nico would then go on and improve his own benchmark by a further five-tenths. After Hamilton had moved within five-thousandths of a second of his original time.

Following a change onto the mediums himself, Rosberg would again go quickly. Lapping just six-tenths of a second down on his soft tyre time. Although after initially matching his team-mate, Hamilton improved on the mediums to end the session four-tenths off the pace.

By the time the flag would fall, the order at the top remained unchanged with Ferrari unable to get within a second of Rosberg on any of the three available compounds.

As for Alonso, the Spaniard running a new, upgraded Internal Combustion Engine and a lighter exhaust was able to take fifth place away from the Red Bulls as he lapped just one-tenth of a second down on Vettel.

While Button was not running the upgraded elements, he ended the 90 minutes nine-tenths off his team-mate’s time. Button was also not running the soft compound tyres during the session, like Red Bull – whose best time was a comparable second off the Silver Arrow’s pace.

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 25 1’35.227
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 1’35.721 0.494
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 16 1’36.315 1.088
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18 1’36.331 1.104
5 Fernando Alonso McLaren 18 1’36.510 1.283
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 27 1’36.753 1.526
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 26 1’36.973 1.746
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 26 1’37.513 2.286
9 Sergio Perez Force India 27 1’37.601 2.374
10 Jenson Button McLaren 20 1’37.613 2.386
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 29 1’37.847 2.62
12 Valtteri Bottas Williams 17 1’37.861 2.634
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 22 1’37.886 2.659
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 20 1’37.921 2.694
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 25 1’38.055 2.828
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 18 1’38.184 2.957
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 20 1’38.313 3.086
18 Felipe Massa Williams 24 1’38.339 3.112
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 23 1’39.148 3.921
20 Esteban Ocon Manor 28 1’40.036 4.809
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 26 1’40.627 5.4
22 Kevin Magnussen Renault 2