Hamilton Edges Vettel in FP1 by 0.038 Seconds


The 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway in Melbourne with defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes narrowly claiming top spot ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari looked to have an advantage over Mercedes in pre-season testing but in Melbourne, Hamilton continued where he left off last season, powering around the Albert Park circuit to the top of the time sheet with a lap of 1:23.599s.

The Briton was pushed hard though by pre-season testing’s fastest man, Vettel, with the German’s new team-mate Charles Leclerc only 0.074s behind.

Fourth place in the session went to Max Verstappen. The Dutchman’s best lap was under two tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace, confirming the team’s quiet confidence from testing in its new Honda-powered package.

There was a quieter start for Verstappen’s new team-mate Pierre Gasly. The French drivers finished the session in P8, 1.3s off the pace.

Valtteri Bottas finished in fifth place in the session and behind him Kimi Räikkönen took best-of-the-rest honours for Alfa Romeo with a time of 1:24.816. The lap left the Finn 1.217s off the pace.

F1 returnee Daniil Kvyat ended up in seventh, just over 1500ths of a second behind Räikkönen.

With Gasly eighth, the final top 10 positions were taken by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg 10th.

Behind 11thplaced Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo Haas’ Romain Grosjean rookie Alexander Albon ended in P13 on his grand prix weekend debut for Toro Rosso. However, the Thai driver brought out the red flags when he hit the barriers at the exit of Turn 1 towards the end of the session.

2019 Formula One Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 26 1:23.599
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18 1:23.637 0.038
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 18 1:23.673 0.074
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 22 1:23.792 0.193
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 30 1:23.866 0.267
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 18 1:24.816 1.217
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 30 1:24.832 1.233
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 23 1:24.932 1.333
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 24 1:24.934 1.335
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 11 1:25.015 1.416
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 23 1:25.166 1.567
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 18 1:25.224 1.625
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 21 1:25.230 1.631
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 19 1:25.285 1.686
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point 26 1:25.288 1.689
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 21 1:25.498 1.899
17 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 16 1:25.634 2.035
18 Lando Norris McLaren 31 1:25.966 2.367
|19 Robert Kubica Williams 25 1:27.914 4.315
20 George Russell Williams 25 1:28.740 5.141

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