Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 at Melbourne

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Formula One kicked off where it left off last season with Mercedes at the top of the timesheets. Lewis Hamilton was clearly fastest in the first session of the year, half a second ahead of new team mate Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull's duo followed up in third and fourth, ahead of Ferrari.

However, contrary to usual proceedings in 2016, Mercedes were the only team to try out Pirelli's ultrasoft tyres. The rest of the field opted to stick with softs and supersofts during the 90 minutes of free practice through Albert Park.

Behind the Ferrari's of Raikkonen and Vettel were Felipe Massa, who already impressed during pre-season winter testing. Romain Grosjean, who had a magnificent weekend here last year, was 8th fastest and Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez completed the top 10 for Renault and Force India respectively.

Toro Rosso ended up 11th and 12th, having let their pre-season reliability problems behind them to run reliably throughout the test.

Lance Stroll, the second Williams driver was 6 tenths slower than his team mate as he came to terms with the circuit. The rookie Canadian is likely to have a learning curve ahead of him before he can match the well experienced Felipe Massa.

At McLaren, Fernando Alonso ended up 14th, but the bad news befell team mate Stoffel Vandoorne. The latter was first out with aero rake equipment as the team continues to do aerodynamic verification due to their lack of running in pre-season testing. Running was short for the Belgian though, as before halfway in the session, Vandoorne was halted in the garage with mechanical issues, and didn't go out again.

Jolyon Palmer for Renault endured reliability issues as well, completing just 6 laps, less than his McLaren counterpart who was slower still.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:24.220-22
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:24.803+0.583s25
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:24.886+0.666s19
433Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:25.246+1.026s19
57Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:25.372+1.152s16
65Sebastian VettelFerrari1:25.464+1.244s10
719Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:26.142+1.922s28
88Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:26.168+1.948s20
927Nico HulkenbergRenault1:26.183+1.963s15
1011Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:26.276+2.056s29
1155Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:26.450+2.230s24
1226Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:26.514+2.294s25
1318Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:26.734+2.514s29
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:27.116+2.896s18
159Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:27.348+3.128s30
1631Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:27.656+3.436s23
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:27.667+3.447s20
1894Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari1:28.539+4.319s22
1930Jolyon PalmerRenault1:28.585+4.365s6
202Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:28.695+4.475s14