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Nico fastest at practice

Sepang: Mercedes’ early season strength was again evident with German Nico Rosberg going fastest in Friday practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix as a number of Formula One teams suffered teething problems on a tricky day.

Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton had clocked the best time of 1:40.691 in the opening session despite sliding off the track earlier on Friday, but the Briton was only fourth in the second with a 1:40.051 after more grip issues.

Kimi Raikkonen was second quickest on Friday for Ferrari with a best time just 0.035 seconds back of Rosberg, with teammate Fernando Alonso fifth with a 1:40.103.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was third quickest in the second session with a best time of 1:39.970 seconds but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the team were having problems with a fuel sensor that required changing.

Fuel flow rates had led to Vettel’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo being disqualified from his home Grand Prix in Melbourne last week, a verdict the team have appealed.

The Australian was seventh quickest in the second session on Friday.