Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2016

Hamilton heads rain-affected first practice session

2016 Australian Grand Prix first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton began the 2016 season on top of the times sheets as occasional showers kept drivers on their toes during the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver exploited one of the best opportunities to set a time on dry-weather tyres to set a 1’29.725. The less than ideal conditions meant lap times were slightly down on the same session from 12 months earlier.

Team mate Nico Rosberg ended the session two second adrift with four cars separating him from his team mate. The two Red Bull drivers were closest to Hamilton, Daniiil Kvyat the only driver to get within half a second of the number 44 car.

Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest but ended the session in the gravel trap at turn 12 after another late rain shower. The slippery track also caught out Valtteri Bottas and Rio Haryanto, though both were able to continue.

Sebastian Vettel, who was the first driver to take to the track when the session began, aborted his final attempt to set a time when the conditions deteriorated. He therefore failed to set a time as did Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jnr, who was delayed by a technical problem during the session.

The team’s other car appeared inside the top five courtesy of Max Verstappen, who was three-tenths of a second off Nico Hulkenerg.

The top ten was completed by the McLaren pair plus the second Force India of Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen’s Renault.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’29.725 14
2 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’30.146 0.421 14
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’30.875 1.150 13
4 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’31.325 1.600 8
5 33 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’31.720 1.995 14
6 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’31.814 2.089 11
7 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’33.060 3.335 11
8 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’33.129 3.404 16
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’33.370 3.645 6
10 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’34.060 4.335 12
11 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’34.550 4.825 6
12 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’34.679 4.954 6
13 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’34.796 5.071 7
14 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’35.477 5.752 12
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.956 8.231 6
16 94 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes 1’40.401 10.676 6
17 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’40.754 11.029 10
18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1’41.780 12.055 8
19 88 Rio Haryanto Manor-Mercedes 1’43.372 13.647 7
20 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’43.443 13.718 6
21 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 8
22 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Ferrari 3

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’29.725

+0.421 Daniil Kvyat – 1’30.146

+1.150 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’30.875

+1.600 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’31.325

+1.995 Max Verstappen – 1’31.720

+2.089 Nico Rosberg – 1’31.814

+3.335 Fernando Alonso – 1’33.060

+3.404 Jenson Button – 1’33.129

+3.645 Sergio Perez – 1’33.370

+4.335 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.060

+4.825 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.550

+4.954 Felipe Massa – 1’34.679

+5.071 Felipe Nasr – 1’34.796

+5.752 Jolyon Palmer – 1’35.477

+8.231 Marcus Ericsson – 1’37.956

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.