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

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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