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.

18 comments on “Hamilton heads rain-affected first practice session”

  1. Early days yet, in addition to being a wet session…the Mclarens arent looking too bad.

    Cant wait for Qualy.

    1. 3s off the pace… About where they were last year

    2. The Hondas are looking very very bad. Wait for FP2, you will believe it.

      1. There are so many cars behind them. You mean they all went backwards?

        1. It was raining. Read the article above – “The Mercedes driver exploited one of the best opportunities to set a time on dry-weather tyres to set a 1’29.725.”

  2. Notice Mercs didn’t run the new nose from last test, and Renault had a new nose on Palmer’s car I think.

    …and the Red Bulls and Toro Rossos look so similar from the onboard camera!

    1. I thought that about the merc nose too @robertthespy
      Wonder if it’s because of the deflection test, they hadn’t already passed it before running the wing in testing

      1. Ah no, they don’t have any spares. They wouldn’t be allowed to run the wing if it hadn’t passed the tests.

  3. Does Haryanto goes out at the same time as Wehrlein? 3 seconds off the pace of your teammate is not a good way to start your debut, especially on a team that rarely doing different setup on practice…

    1. Apex Assassin
      18th March 2016, 4:57

      It was wet and Rio was on full wets and on his other timed lap he went into the gravel trap, unless I’m mistaken.

    2. Give him a break. He’s a pay driver

      1. Strictly speaking, both are pay drivers who managed to be outside of 107% of the fastest time ;) @todfod

    3. If it would’ve been a fully dry session, then yes, definitely something to worry about.
      But with conditions this complicated and changing all the time, it doesn’t make much sense to compare times.
      I doubt Rio is that much slower than Wehrlein. According to the lap times Rosberg would be 2s slower than Hamilton, which most certainly isn’t the case. Let’s just wait for FP2.

    4. FP1 was so chaotic that the times are even less meaningful than those from Barcelona.

      Doesn’t look like FP2 will be much better.

  4. Apex Assassin
    18th March 2016, 4:58

    Gotta say that the RBR livery looks incredible in natural lighting! Def the best livery out there and I’m shocked to be saying that!

    1. You’re not alone.

  5. Ferrari 11 seconds off the pace confirmed.

    1. I knew they have got something up their sleeve. 11 seconds is really something mate!

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