Nico Rosberg takes lead in first Malaysian GP practice despite bizarre Renault fire
Nico Rosberg led Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton by nearly half a second after the first practice for the Malaysian GP. AP

SEPANG, Malaysia — Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg edged his teammate and Formula One title rival Lewis Hamilton in Friday's opening practice session at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who leads Hamilton by eight points in the championship following three successive GP wins, was half a second faster in the hot conditions at the Sepang International Circuit.

The session was red flagged for 15 minutes when the Renault of Kevin Magnussen burst into flames in pit lane because of a fuel leak, and the fire took several minutes to fully extinguish.

Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set the third- and fourth-fastest times, ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

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