Hamilton tops opening practice in Melbourne

Based on results from practice 1, the year is essentially over for anyone but Hamilton.

When you drive an Aldo Costa designed car everything comes easy. Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice for the Australian GP in Melbourne by 1/2-sec over teammate Valtteri Bottas. If the opening practice is any indication, it's going to be a very long year for everyone else. Watching the Aldo Costa designed cars circulate around the Albert Park circuit it was clear his cars generate a lot more downforce than anyone else

However, the world champions were the only team to sample Pirelli’s ultrasoft tires, with the rest of the field choosing to stick to softs and supersofts for the first 90 minutes of running.

With the purple-marked tires bolted to his Silver Arrow, Hamilton lapped in 1m 24.220s – half a second quicker than his new team mate, and a full 5.5s faster than he went in the same session last year, perfectly illustrating the increased performance of the new generation of F1 machinery.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished third and fourth for Red Bull, 0.6 and 1s back respectively, with their quickest laps coming on supersofts. Ferrari too stuck to the red-marked rubber and were rewarded with fifth and sixth for Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Four other teams rounded out the top ten, with Williams’ Felipe Massa best of the rest, ahead of Haas’s Romain Grosjean, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Sergio Perez.

With that said, the Ferrari cars ran very few laps in what is typically a track cleaning and rubbering in session, so they may be sandbagging. An indication of that is the fact they set their times on the harder supersoft tires while the Mercedes were on the purple ultrasofts. But the ultrasofts are not a full second a lap faster than the red supersofts, so clearly Mercedes are quick for the 4th year running.

Behind the two Mercedes were the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen and then the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel.

Results Practice 1

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:24.220 +0.000s 22
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:24.803 +0.583s 25
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:24.886 +0.666s 19
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:25.246 +1.026s 19
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:25.372 +1.152s 16
6 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:25.464 +1.244s 10
7 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:26.142 +1.922s 28
8 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:26.168 +1.948s 20
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:26.183 +1.963s 15
10 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:26.276 +2.056s 29
11 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 1:26.450 +2.230s 24
12 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO 1:26.514 +2.294s 25
13 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:26.734 +2.514s 29
14 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:27.116 +2.896s 18
15 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:27.348 +3.128s 30
16 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:27.656 +3.436s 23
17 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:27.667 +3.447s 20
18 94 Pascal Wehrlein SAUBER FERRARI 1:28.539 +4.319s 22
19 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:28.585 +4.365s 6
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1:28.695 +4.475s 14

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