Australian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton kept hold of top spot by edging ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari and Red Bull several tenths down.
Mercedes once again topped free practice for the Australian Grand Prix, with Hamilton beating Bottas in the qualifying simulations.
However, with the gap to Ferrari at around one second, it is widely expected that Ferrari have resisted the temptation to demonstrate their true pace.
Instead, it was the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly who were the closest competitors, albeit eight tenths off the pace. Despite the gap, Verstappen’s lap was set on a second flying lap after his first one was blocked.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished fifth, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Renault duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.
The second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was ninth and over one second down, with the Monegasque driver also spinning in the closing stages of the session. He went slightly wide over the sausage kerbs on the exit of turn four and spun his car 180-degrees, but he managed to avoid the barrier. Haas’ Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.
A tricky day for the rookies meant off-track moments occurred for Alex Albon – who had already brought out the red flags in free practice one – George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi, but none of these incidents were damaging to their cars.