Hamilton Free Practice

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets for Mercedes in a rain-hit first free practice at Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday.

The Briton bided his time until a break between rain squalls late in the 90-minute session at Albert Park and posted a lap of one minute 29.725 seconds, over four-tenths of a second quicker than Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat’s Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest, over a second adrift of Hamilton, and took a spill into the gravel late in the session as he pushed for a better time.

Four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, tipped to threaten Hamilton’s ambitions of a third successive title, was first out of the garage in his Ferrari but failed to post a time as gusty winds buffeted the street circuit.

His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen locked up and skidded at a turn, finishing with the 17th fastest time of the 20 cars that posted laps.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was fourth quickest ahead of Toro Rosso’s teenager Max Verstappen.

Hamilton’s team–mate Nico Rosberg, who won the final three races of last season, was sixth quickest.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz struggled with a reliability problem and was also unable to post a lap time.

New team Haas, the first US-owned F1 outfit in 30 years, had a cautious debut with French driver Romain Grosjean the slowest and team mate Esteban Gutierrez 18th fastest.

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1ST FREE PRACTICE

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) – Mercedes – 1:29.725

2. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) – Red Bull – TAG Heuer – 1:30.146

3. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – Red Bull-TAG Heuer – 1:30.875

4. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) – Force India-Mercedes – 1:31.325

5. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:31.720

6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) – Mercedes – 1:31.814

7. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – McLaren – :33.060

8. Jenson Button (Britain) – McLaren – 1:33.129

9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Force India-Mercedes – 1:33.370

10. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) – Renault – 1:34.060

11. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) – Williams-Mercedes – 1:34.550

12. Felipe Massa (Brazil) – Williams-Mercedes – 1:34.679

13. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:34.796

14. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) – Renault – 1:35.477

15. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:37.956

16. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) – Manor-Mercedes – 1:40.401

17. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Ferrari – 1:40.754

18. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) – Haas-Ferrari – 1:41.780

19. Rio Haryanto (Indonesia) – Manor-Mercedes – 1:43.372

20. Romain Grosjean (France) – Haas-Ferrari – 1:43.443

21. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) – Ferrari

22. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) – Toro Rosso – Ferrari

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