GOOD START TO THE WEEKEND: Nico Rosberg was the quickest driver in first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Image: AP / Kamran Jebreili
Bahrain - Nico Rosberg edged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in another dominant display by Formula One's top team in Friday's opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Rosberg, who has won the past four races dating back to last season, set a time of 1 minute, 32.294 seconds at the Sakhir circuit, half a second faster than Hamilton and a surprising 1.8 seconds faster than third-place Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
Strong Red Bull performance
Following a 1-2 finish in the opening race in Australia, Mercedes remains a cut above its opposition, with Rosberg's lap time being 5.5 seconds faster than 2015's opening practice session.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were fourth and fifth fastest, respectively, ahead of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg.
Read: 1st Practice - As it happened
Toro Rosso pair Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen were seventh and eighth, followed by Haas driver Romain Grosjean and Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who is filling in for the injured Fernando Alonso this weekend, was 18th fastest, within a second of McLaren teammate Jenson Button.
Force India reserve driver Alfonso Celis of Mexico also got his first taste of F1 and was 21st, 2.7 seconds off teammate Hulkenberg's time.
Top 10 drivers through the speed trap: Read: 1st Practice - As it happened