Melbourne, FP1: Hamilton edges Vettel by just 0.038 seconds
Leclerc 3rd, Verstappen 4th
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.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W10||1:23.599||26|
|02||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF90||1:23.637||18|
|03||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF90||1:23.673||18|
|04||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB15||1:23.792||22|
|05||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W10||1:23.866||30|
|06||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38||1:24.816||18|
|07||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:24.832||30|
|08||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Honda RB15||1:24.932||23|
|09||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-19||1:24.934||24|
|10||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault RS19||1:25.015||11|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38||1:25.166||23|
|12||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari VF-19||1:25.224||18|
|13||Alex Albon||Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:25.230||21|
|14||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL34||1:25.285||19|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP19||1:25.288||26|
|16||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point Mercedes RP19||1:25.498||21|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS19||1:25.634||16|
|18||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL34||1:25.966||31|
|19||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes FW42||1:27.914||25|
|20||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW42||1:28.740||25|