Hamilton heads Red Bulls in opening practice
Lewis Hamilton kicked off the new Formula 1 season by topping the times in a rain interrupted opening practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
The reigning world champion made the most of a brief period of dry running towards the end of the 90 minutes to post a 1:29.725 on soft compound tyres.
Red Bull impressed throughout the session, with Daniel Ricciardo heading the time sheets with an hour remaining.
The Australian improved his personal best on softs to move within 0.5s of Hamilton when the track dried again before heavy rain fell in the closing minutes.
After dropping to third behind team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the final moments, Ricciardo’s session ended in the gravel trap at Turn 12 when he was caught out by the slippery conditions.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was another driver to benefit from being on the track at the right time as he posted a lap good enough for fourth.
The German finished ahead of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who endured a brief spin at Turn 6 during the limited dry period.
Nico Rosberg was the first to venture out in the difficult wet conditions and ended the session in sixth ahead of the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
The Sauber of Sergio Perez and Renault’s Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.
Ferrari never really had the opportunity to show its hand in the dry conditions with Kimi Raikkonen in 17th position, while Sebastian Vettel completed a succession of installation laps.
Vettel and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz were the only drivers not to log times.
Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto encountered brief off-track excursion in the final quarter on his way to 19th spot.
Result: Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Practice 1
|2||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1:30.146s||+0.421s||14|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1:30.875s||+1.150s||13|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1:31.325s||+1.600s||8|
|5||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1:31.720s||+1.995s||14|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1:33.370s||+3.645s||6|
|21||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||No time set||–||8|
|22||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||No time set||–||3|