Melbourne, FP1: Hamilton edges Vettel by just 0.038 seconds

Leclerc 3rd, Verstappen 4th

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By Olivier Ferret

15 March 2019 - 03:37
Melbourne, FP1: Hamilton edges (...)

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.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
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

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