Mercedes take the lead in first Australian practice

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On the back of weeks of speculation on who would be the team to beat this year, or rather this weekend at Australia, the 2018 F1 season has finally kicked off with first practice for the Australian Grand Prix. In this first glimpse of relative performances, Lewis Hamilton ended out ahead.

Valtteri Bottas shadowed the World Champion in second place, heading the same competitors of 2017, namely Red Bull Racing and Ferrari. The latter two teams however did not yet utilize the ultra-soft tyres on their fastest runs, hinting that competition may become closer as the weekend progresses. In fact, it was Raikkonen who was fastest in the Ferrari, running exclusively on the soft tyre, which is actually the hardest compound available for the teams this weekend.

Behind the known top 6, Romain Grosjean surprised to 7th, confirming the hint they gave in pre-season testing. However, team mate Kevin Magnussen, who had earlier gone off at the penultimate corner, ended his session in the garage after a sensor issue was discovered on his car.

Fernando Alonso was 8th fastest. The Spaniard did have a rather frustrating session as he was in the box for nearly an hour due to an exhaust problem, but when he eventually ended up out on track 20 minutes from the end, he went 8th fastest, showing a first glimpse of what should become McLaren's return season.

Carlos Sainz and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren respectively.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:24.026-27
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:24.577+0.551s29
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:24.771+0.745s26
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:24.875+0.849s23
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1:24.995+0.969s22
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:25.063+1.037s25
78Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:25.730+1.704s24
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:25.896+1.870s16
955Carlos SainzRenault1:25.922+1.896s23
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:26.482+2.456s15
1110Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:26.494+2.468s25
1235Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:26.536+2.510s25
1327Nico HulkenbergRenault1:26.583+2.557s25
1431Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:26.605+2.579s30
1518Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:26.636+2.610s30
1611Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:26.767+2.741s26
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:27.035+3.009s13
1828Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:27.745+3.719s16
199Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:27.964+3.938s28
2016Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:28.853+4.827s28