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.
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||1:31.014||32|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:31.067||31|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:31.570||9|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:32.073||18|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:32.247||22|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:32.261||19|