Mercedes dominates first practice at Melbourne

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As what somewhat expected from pre-season testing, Mercedes AMG F1 have become the clear pace setters in the first practice session at Melbourne with both its cars more than a second ahead of the competition.

Even though it's still early days, Mercedes confirms it is best prepared, just as well as it was in winter testing doing pitstop practice on the first day of testing at Jerez while other teams were still working on their cars.

Interestingly, Nico Rosberg posted his best in the opening minutes of the 90 minute session, on a track that is notoriously green in the beginning due to no running taking place at other moments during the year. Lewis Hamilton took a bit longer to get his car behave property, but he eventually got within 0.029s of his team mate's best.

The team went on to focus on race work later on in the session while others were left to try to close the performance gap.

Bottas was the third fastest man, followed by Sainz, Vettel and Verstappen, ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa. While Vettel was seen a few times crossing a few grass patches, neither of Toro Rosso's rookies made mistakes and set solid performances on their first official outings in the F1 championships.

On the troubled side of the pack, neither Manor was ready to venture out on track while Sauber didn't leave the pits due to its ongoing legal issues with its drivers.

Of those that did run, both Lotus cars had difficult times, albeit that Maldonado did manage to set a reasonable time towards the end of the session. At Red Bull, neither driver seemed pleased with their cars as they look ahead to more set-up work during FP2 and ahead of qualifying.

Results

Pos.NameTeamBest TimeLaps
1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:29.55719
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:29.58619
3Valtteri BottasWilliams1:30.74820
4Carlos Sainz JrToro Rosso1:31.01432
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1:31.02913
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:31.06731
7Felipe MassaWilliams1:31.18819
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:31.31014
9Pastor MaldonadoLotus F11:31.45122
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:31.5709
11Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:32.07318
12Sergio PerezForce India1:32.24722
13Nico HulkenbergForce India1:32.26119
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:34.5426
15Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1:34.7857
16Romain GrosjeanLotus F12:17.7825