Australian Grand Prix: Practice 1

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

The 2016 season of Formula 1 got under way in damp conditions from Melbourne, Australia today. The picturesque setting of Albert Park, the opening stage for the first round of the 21 race competition that we know and love as Formula One!

A wet start led to a slowly drying track which saw the teams running a combination of wet and intermediate Pirelli tires, before switching to dry weather tires mid-way through the session. Conditions improved throughout the session until spitting rain with 10 minutes left saw Valtteri Bottas, Rio Haryanto and Daniel Ricciardo make trips to the gravel trap, which in the case of Ricciardo proved the end of his session. The affable Aussie endured a long walk back to the pits, smiling and posing with his adoring fans along the way

Lewis Hamilton led the session, by just sneaking in a dominant flyer before the session was slowed by the late rainfall. Red Bull teammates Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top three positions as all teams took a cautious approach with the delicate and wet conditions. No one got as much running as hoped and now more pressure will be on for the teams to log as many laps as possible in FP2 and FP3 before the new qualification rules come into play on Saturday.

The American rookie entry, Haas F1 team, ran early installation laps and then waited for dryer conditions where they ran 8 laps for Esteban Gutierrez and 6 laps for Romain Grosjean. Grosjean returned to pits visibly beaming at accomplishment the team has achieved to be in Australia, finally ready to race and write their own chapter of Formula One history.

Complete Fp1 Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.725
2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:30.146
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:30.875
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:31.325
5 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.720
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.814
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:33.060
8 Jenson Button McLaren 1:33.129
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:33.370
10 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:34.060
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:34.550
12 Felipe Massa Williams 1:34.679
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:34.796
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:35.477
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:37.956
16 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:40.401
17 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:40.754
18 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:41.780
19 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:43.372
20 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:43.443
21 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari No Time
22 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso No Time

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (, which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (, which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at