Mercedes buries competition in opening Australia practice

Hamilton easily tops Bottas
Hamilton easily tops Bottas

While it is still too early to tell who will be third on down on the F1 grid this year, there is little doubt who will be 1st and 2nd and that will be the Mercedes drivers. Three other teams run equal Mercedes engines (all customer engines in F1 must be equal to the factory team) but no one else has the Aldo Costa designed car.

Lewis Hamilton beat his teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.551s to top opening practice for the Australian GP with a lap of 1m24.026s.

Hamilton's fastest lap of 1:24.026 was two-tenths faster than the best lap time from FP1 in 2017 at Albert Park, with the time done using the Ultrasoft compound tire.

Max Verstappen led Red Bull's charge in third place, finishing seven-tenths of a second back from Hamilton, while the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel took fourth and fifth place. All three drivers recorded their fastest laps on the Supersoft, with Ferrari completing no running at all on the Ultrasoft, which is worth 3 to 4 tenths.

Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth in the second Red Bull ahead of Romain Grosjean, who continued Haas' impressive form from testing to finish as the top midfield driver.

Rain is forecast for qualifying Saturday so practice times will be out the window should Saturday prove to be wet.

FP1 Results

POS DRIVER CAR TIME BEHIND LAPS
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.026s 0.000s 27
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m24.577s 0.551s 29
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m24.771s 0.745s 26
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m24.875s 0.849s 23
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.995s 0.969s 22
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m25.063s 1.037s 25
7 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m25.730s 1.704s 24
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m25.896s 1.870s 16
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m25.922s 1.896s 23
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m26.482s 2.456s 15
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m26.494s 2.468s 25
12 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m26.536s 2.510s 25
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m26.583s 2.557s 25
14 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m26.605s 2.579s 30
15 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m26.636s 2.610s 30
16 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m26.767s 2.741s 26
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m27.035s 3.009s 13
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m27.745s 3.719s 16
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m27.964s 3.938s 28
20 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m28.853s 4.827s 28

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