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Mercedes pair again set the pace ahead of qualifying at F1 Malaysian GP

Mercedes drivers set the two fastest times in Saturday's pre-qualifying practice sessions at the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, showing they are the team to beat again for pole position and in Sunday's race.

Nico Rosberg, who won the season-opener in Australia, led the way with a time of 1 minute, 39.008 seconds at the Sepang International Circuit, a quarter of a second ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, but more than a second behind Rosberg's time. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was fourth and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg fifth.

McLaren, the early leader in the constructors' championship, was in trouble heading into Saturday's qualifying, with its drivers only setting one timed lap between them in the practice sessions.