FP1: Hamilton tops opening practice session

  • 15 Mar 2019 03:31
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton has topped the timesheets after the first practice session in Melbourne, posting a 1:23.599.

The reigning world champion's time was marginally faster than Sebastian Vettel, who was also just ahead of his new teammate for 2019, Charles Leclerc.

Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull, who will be looking to start its relationship with Honda off strongly this weekend.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the second Mercedes, but suffered a small scare late on in the session. Heading into the penultimate corner, Bottas touched the grass, which disrupted his run into the corner.

As he ran wide and flick-spun the W10, the car came dangerously close to hitting the barrier, with the rear wheels kicking up more grass.

There was one red flag during the session, which was caused by Toro Rosso rookie Alexander Albon.

The Thai-British driver lost control of his car at Turn 1 and hit the barriers, losing his front wing. Despite the red flag, Albon was able to drive the car back to the pit lane unassisted. 

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, whose session ended with complaints of his rear left tyre, as it appeared the carcass started to come through.

Pierre Gasly was eighth, while Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten. 

Hulkenberg had a slow start to the day and was sidelined for much of the session while his mechanics worked on his car. 

His teammate and local favourite Daniel Ricciardo was only 17th, quicker than Lando Norris and the two Williams'.

The Grove outfit looked to be well off the pace, with Robert Kubica, the lead Williams driver in the session, 4.3 seconds down on pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.

AU Albert Park - 15 March 2019

Photos Australia 2019

Replies (6)

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  • Interesting, I missed the session but from the results I have a few thoughts:

    - Either that Alfa is really good, or Raikkonen found some new pace. He finished about where he used to finish when he was Seb's teammate

    - Did the gap to the frontrunners increase horribly? I mean the best of the rest is 1.2s off?

    - Pierre Gasly? Seriously?

    Obviously is just practice #1 and results are not very indicative, but I was so excited that F1 IS BACK! so I thought I'd get with the armchair critic shtick.

    • + 0
    • Mar 15 2019 - 04:24
    • F1 IS BACK! Hell yeah! Typical Friday 1 session. Everybody was sandbagging and going through setup motions. Ham, Ver and Bot set their times pretty early and then VET and LeClerc about 2/3rds through. RAI set his towards the very end on low fuel. Hulk out for most of the session with electrical issues. FP2 will tell us more in another hour or so. Ham's time is 2 seconds off the 2018 qualy time so lots of faster times to come. Can't read anything in to FP1 results let's see how the next session goes...

      • + 1
      • Mar 15 2019 - 04:37
    • HOO HOOO HOOO! MERRY F1 EVERYONE!!

      Bearing in mind that this is just FP1, and it tends to be about as realistic as my dreams of dating Danica Patrick, I think RB, STR and Alfa all looked really good. But look at Daniel Ricciardo, p17.

      • + 0
      • Mar 15 2019 - 06:19
  • GAME ON! Nice photos of some good looking cars.

    • + 0
    • Mar 15 2019 - 04:30
  • mcbhargav

    Posts: 889

    If Leclerc could match Vettel through out the season, Ocon is joining Mercedes in 2020.

    • + 0
    • Mar 15 2019 - 05:38
  • No live commentary and chat during FP sessions?

    • + 0
    • Mar 15 2019 - 06:47



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