Australian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first FP1 session of the 2018 Formula 1 season, ahead of his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.
The reigning world champion vied for the top spot with Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the middle stages of the session, eventually going 0.551s quicker than the rest of the field on a 1:24.026 on the ultrasoft tyre.
Verstappen ended the session third quickest, 0.745s off Hamilton’s time but spent the majority of the session working on the supersoft tyre. He was a tenth ahead of top Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen, who was another tenth ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo was sixth.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull have brought aerodynamic upgrades to this race in a bid to match Mercedes, which has remained unchanged since the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Romain Grosjean took the ‘best of the rest spot’ in seventh for Haas, ahead of Fernando Alonso whose McLaren was garage-bound for the majority of the session with an exhaust issue.
Team mate Stoffel Vandoorne was hit with a similar issue but lost less time on track. He was tenth fastest in the session.
Carlos Sainz was ninth fastest for Renault, who has brought a plethora of upgrades which were examined during the session, including a new floor, rear brake drums and floor design.
Rookie Sergey Sirotkin was the first driver to set a time in the session, ending it in 12th for Williams. His fellow rookie and Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc was slowest in the session for Sauber.
Kevin Magnussen was the only driver to have an off-track excursion when he locked his brakes into the penultimate corner and ran onto the grass.