The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has claimed a predictable 1-2 in the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
Defending race-winner Nico Rosberg led the way, posting a 1:29.557 to edge out teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.029 seconds.
Valtteri Bottas led the ‘best of the rest’ charge in his Williams, almost 1.2 seconds slower, while Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr was an impressive fourth-quickest in his first ever Grand Prix practice outing.
Aside from the two Toro Rosso rookies who managed 31 laps apiece – Verstappen was sixth-fastest, with the STR10s sandwiching Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari – the session saw little in the way of heavy running from anyone else, as is typical of an opening practice session when track conditions are at their worst.
Behind Verstappen, Felipe Massa was seventh-fastest in the second Williams ahead of former Ferrari teammate Kimi Räikkönen in the second SF15-T. Pastor Maldonado was ninth-fastest in the Mercedes-powered Lotus E23, while crowd favourite Daniel Ricciardo was tenth-fastest in his Red Bull Racing RB11.
The Australian provided the only incident of note in the session – which was virtually devoid of yellow flags or major off-track moments – when he looped his car at the penultimate turn with about 30 minutes to go. He was able to continue and complete the session.
Ricciardo finished half-a-second quicker than his Russian teammate Daniil Kvyat, while the little-run Force Indias and well off-the-pace McLarens brought up the rear of those who actually set meaningful lap times. McLaren blamed problems with their Honda power units, with Jenson Button quicker at a full 4.9 seconds off the pace.
With the Manor Marussia entries still in pieces in the garage, the session’s other non-runners were court-threatened Sauber, who sent both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in full uniform to the garages, only to not send them out – presumably this is to avoid any perception of a contempt of court claim being made by the Appeal Court after its ruling that Giedo van der Garde has a valid contract to drive for the Swiss team.
Free Practice 2 gets underway at 4:30pm AEDST (GMT +11).
2015 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team F1W06||1:29.557||18|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team F1W06||1:29.586||+ 0.029||18|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:30.748||+ 1.191||20|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:31.014||+ 1.457||31|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:31.029||+ 1.472||13|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:31.067||+ 1.510||31|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:31.188||+ 1.631||19|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:31.310||+ 1.753||14|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:31.451||+ 1.894||21|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:31.570||+ 2.013||9|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:32.073||+ 2.516||18|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:32.247||+ 2.690||22|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:32.261||+ 2.704||19|
|14.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:34.542||+ 4.985||6|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:34.785||+ 5.228||7|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||2:17.782||+ 48.225||5|
|17.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||no time||0|
|18.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||no time||0|
|19.||Will Stevens||Marussia Manor F1 Team Ferrari MR03||no time||0|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Marussia Manor F1 Team Ferrari MR03||no time||0|
Image via XPB Images