Hamilton completes practice sweep ahead of Vettel

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton made it two out of two as Mercedes stayed on top in the second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.

His best lap of 1’23.620 on ultra-soft tyres was inside his pole position time from 12 months ago and less than one tenth of a second off the all-time track record for Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.

Australian Grand Prix Friday practice in pictures
Not even his team mate joined him in achieving a sub-84 second lap of the track. Sebastian Vettel got closest but the Ferrari driver was over half a second behind. He posted his lap after being delayed briefly when Felipe Massa’s Williams came to a stop.

Vettel pipped Valtteri Bottas by nine thousandths of a second. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was next but over nine-tenths of a second back after also being delayed on his early ultra-soft tyre run.

No one else came within a second of the Mercedes. Daniel Ricciardo took fifth while team mate Max Verstappen dramatically flew through the turn 12 gravel after running wide.

Jolyon Palmer had a more dramatic off. The Renault driver had only covered half-a-dozen laps in the morning due to technical problems and was making up for lost time when he crashed at turn 16 on his fourth lap. That forced a brief stoppage to the session.

Another driver to hit trouble was Marcus Ericsson, who spun off at turn six with five minutes to go. Romain Grosjean visited the run-off twice in his Haas, complaining about braking trouble as he did.

Despite those problems Grosjean took eighth behind Carlos Sainz Jnr. Daniil Kvyat made it two Toro Rossos in the top ten, behind Nico Hulkenberg.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.62034
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’24.1670.54735
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’24.1760.55634
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’24.5250.90530
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’24.6501.03027
633Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’25.0131.3938
755Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’25.0841.46434
88Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’25.4361.81629
927Nico HulkenbergRenault1’25.4781.85836
1026Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’25.4931.87339
1111Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’25.5911.97135
1214Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’26.0002.38019
1331Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’26.1452.52537
1419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’26.3312.7116
159Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’26.4982.87829
1618Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’26.5252.90527
172Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’26.6082.98833
1894Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’26.9193.29930
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’27.2793.6598
2030Jolyon PalmerRenault1’27.5493.9294

Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’23.620

+0.547 Sebastian Vettel – 1’24.167

+0.556 Valtteri Bottas – 1’24.176

+0.905 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’24.525

+1.030 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’24.650

+1.393 Max Verstappen – 1’25.013

+1.464 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’25.084

+1.816 Romain Grosjean – 1’25.436

+1.858 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’25.478

+1.873 Daniil Kvyat – 1’25.493

+1.971 Sergio Perez – 1’25.591

+2.380 Fernando Alonso – 1’26.000

+2.525 Esteban Ocon – 1’26.145

+2.711 Felipe Massa – 1’26.331

+2.878 Marcus Ericsson – 1’26.498

+2.905 Lance Stroll – 1’26.525

+2.988 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’26.608

+3.299 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’26.919

+3.659 Kevin Magnussen – 1’27.279

+3.929 Jolyon Palmer – 1’27.549

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

148 comments on “Hamilton completes practice sweep ahead of Vettel”

  1. I don’t know whats worse, the gap from HAM back to the nearest competitor, or that the nearest competitor isn’t Bottas

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      24th March 2017, 6:29

      You took the words right out of my mouth

    2. Well, since both are nearly identical…

    3. I think Hamilton to the nearest competitor… Bottas never really was much of a threat to begin with, but Ferrari’s threat seemed more genuine.

    4. dragall

      Spot on, couldn’t agree more.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      24th March 2017, 8:56

      I wouldn’t worry. Once Mercedes turn their engines up in Q3, they’ll be first and 2nd easily. Bottas will be closer to Hamilton – it’s still early.

      1. I wouldn’t write Ferrari off that easily if you consider going back over the last 2 years, Ferrari famously under-performs on Friday and comes back stronger on Saturday. Also, they have been pretty low key all along, saying that they weren’t sure how they stack up against Mercedes. It’s possible, they may have been telling the truth-even though I don’t believe it.

    6. Hold your horses everybody. It’s way too early to pass judgement on Bottas after two FP sessions.

      1. Nope. He had two sessions and fluffed it.

      2. Andrew Purkis
        24th March 2017, 13:32

        Bottas had 700+ laps in testing and is hardly a rookie

        he should be on the pace of Ham

        end of

        1. Yep course he should…

          You know, immediately on the fastest times of the quickest guy of this generation…

          Of course he should. Even though his previous team mate, a qualifying specialist with three years prior to him joining was .4 of a second down on LH at this track EVERY year…!

          1. Haha.. +1!

    7. .009 seconds is essentially noise– perhaps a bug hit Bottas’s car, or a fan sneezed as Vettel went past.

      Thing is, if you take Hamilton’s times off the sheet, it looks like we’ve got a close season between the top three. Between the increase in grip, and more durable tires, it’s obvious that these cars can take a bit more abuse, and require less babying than last year’s model– and Hamilton especially seems to be having a blast throwing his car around the track.

      His FP1 fast run was entertaining to watch as he slammed it around the track.

      The new regs may actually suit Hamilton better than the last few years have.

      1. They will – and your right.

        It really has tightened up – it’s just LH is quick. Very much so at this circuit.

        I mean 5 poles?

        Looks a good season to me.

    8. Haha great comment

  2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    24th March 2017, 6:26

    Hamilton is on a different level.

    1. Yes, Hamilton is definitely a lot better driver this year when Bottas is his team mate….

      1. To phrase it as Wolff might, Bottas is such a huge threat to Hamilton that the Brit has to give it 110%!

        At least F1 has its own Trumpian form of entertainment in Wolff. It’s going to be really really close guys!

        1. Lewis was trying bigly today

      2. Rambler…Lewis didn’t lose the championship to Nico last season, because he was a better driver than Hamilton. As Toto Wolff said before Rosberg announced his retirement, and said ” This year, clearly, Malaysia cost Lewis the championship. It’s clear.”

    2. I think we’ll still have to wait a bit before we make that judgement.

    3. That Merc looks like it’s been made to suit Hamilton instead of Boatass

  3. Well, at least if Ferrari gets smashed by Mercedes, nobody can say they pointlessly pushed hard in practice to overhype their fans.

    The Hamilton-Bottas gap is concerning. If it is true that this would be another Mercedes dominating season, we might not even have a good fight for the title. Bottas did set his fastest time on a used set of Ultra-softs though (Hamilton did his on a new one), which is at least something to keep hope alive.

    Also, how much pace left is in these cars. Hamilton’s fastest time is around his pole time last year, but we were promised a 5-second decrease in lap times. Would the times tomorrow go down 5 seconds from today? I highly doubt that.

    1. Where did you get the info about the tires? I heard nothing like that being mentioned

      1. Just seen the data, Bottas’ lap was set on a brand new ultra softs.

      2. I was watching the broadcast by NBC Sports in the US, the commentators were probably wrong then.

        Well, even fewer things to look forward to I guess.

        1. Yes, because numbers are so exciting!

          No offense to the mathematicians though…

        2. The FOM results displayed at the end of FP2 did show Bottas on used US tires (dark background)

    2. Blastermaster
      24th March 2017, 6:46

      As to your last point the track is still quite green- there are a few support cars(& FP3) yet to lay down rubber, which will, no doubt, help with the Q3 times.
      Although there’s a possibility of a damp or even wet track late tomorrow afternoon, so we may only see the quickest times of the weekend in FP3.

    3. 5 seconds compared to 2015 – 2016 was already a lot faster thanks to tyre changes and development.

    4. @ducpham2708 “Hamilton’s fastest time is around his pole time last year, but we were promised a 5-second decrease in lap times.”

      No we were not.

      1. We weren’t promised, it was a goal
      2. The 5 seconds decrease was in comparison with 2015, not 2016. That goal is still achievable (if the pole is 1:21).
      3. The 5 seconds is an average. Melbourne is a combination of chicanes with short straights in between. Not really the area where these cars excel. I suspect laptimes to drop massively on circuits as Spa and Suzuka.

      1. @matthijs Regarding 3., that would be weird. The laptime improvements are supposed to come from faster corners, but that’s at the expense of lower top-speed (depending on how much better the engines got), so I would not expect long-straight courses to gain most speed.

        Of course, the better downforce will help with extending the length of the straights a bit with the earlier full gas and later braking, but that’s a bigger fraction for short straights than long straights.

        1. @losd The way I see it: I don’t believe the characteristics of the Melbourne-circuit (chicanes and straights) suit the new cars best laptime wise. The biggest gain is to expect in (long) medium speed corners. These corners are frequent in Spa and Suzuka. But you are right that especially in Spa there are also quite some straights so it’s not the best example. Then take Silverstone as an example, I expect massive gains there with the new cars.

          1. @matthijs Yeah, you are probably right that high speed corners will be much closer to flat-out.

            However, according to Sainz in this “simulator” lap, the fastest corner of the year is turn 12 in Melbourne. Of course, that doesn’t change that most of Melbourne is rather stop/go.

    5. What do you think how much time difference does it make this year with the tyre types degrading less in general if you are using totally new ultra softs or ultra softs that have been used for a couple of laps?

    6. We were promised a 5 second reduction in lap times from when the new regs were designed– in 2015.

      Expect a pole position in the upper 1:21’s based on usual improvement from FP2 to pole.

  4. Oh crap is this year gonna be another Mercedes/Hamilton whitewash ?

    1. @subhashs thin tyres, fat tyres, no tyres, doesn’t even matter.

      1. Ski’s, Tank tracks, shopping trolley wheels….

    2. Did you miss the 2016 season?

      1. 2016 wasn’t a Mercedes whitewash ?

        1. I think he was trying to take a swipe at Lewis

    3. @subhashs I never believed otherwise.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      24th March 2017, 10:17

      Of course it’s going to be Mercedes domination again. I appreciate some got a bit carried away with the idea that Ferrari had caught up because it’s hard to look forward to another 10 months of Mercedes not having to go out of 2nd gear and the team working hard to keep their 2 drivers apart on track.

      The problem is that as things stand, we still have the same engine formula and Mercedes are the only ones with a factory Mercedes unit. The customer teams aren’t allowed to run their engines in the highest mode (what Mercedes use for Q3) and the others have non-Mercedes units that are vastly inferior.

      Yet again, we’re looking behind Mercedes (let’s call it Formula 1.5) for some excitement. Can Red Bull beat Ferrari? Can Williams or Force India push their way to the front? Can Honda sort their engine out allowing McLaren to compete at the front?

      Frankly, if it’s another season of Mercedes easily dominating everyone because they have a much better engine, I’m left with 2 options. Take a year off from F1 or completely ignore the fact that Mercedes even exist and enjoy Formula 1.5. I think I’ll try the 2nd option.

      They are the only ones with factory Mercedes engines and systems – the rest either have customer units which they aren’t allowed to run at 100% or non-Mercedes units which are vastly inferior.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        24th March 2017, 10:18

        ignore the last sentence – copy and paste gone wrong!

      2. Sorry Peter.

        That’s completely untrue.

        The FIA mandate that the engines supplied to other teams are absolutely equal to the ones used by the manufacturer. Including useage and modes.

        That may only be this year but Lotus Reault whom used both Renault and Mercedes engines confirmed in a press conference that Mercedes contractually do so.
        It in the supply contract in other words. Obviously Ferrari and Renault may not have but it’s simply not true that all modes are not available to other teams.

        1. @petebaldwin c’mon man, less of the negativity! You do have a third option, as much as you might not like it you could just give credit where it’s due an give respect to the team that’s doing the best job at the sport we love.

          There’s plenty of other great series available for closer racing. Formula one has always been this way, back and forth, over the years. I don’t like Mercedes dominance either, but just like Red Bull and Ferrari before them, it’ll be all the more sweet when they get beaten.

          If anyone should be moaning it’s us Williams fans. Things don’t like great… But it’s been a long winter, and Sunday approaches fast. I say: bring it on!!

          1. Wow, is this F1fanatic or F1crybabies? We haven’t even had a race yet and it’s all the rubbish “well that’s F1 over for me” comments. I mean seriously, to be brutal about it no one cares. No one cares if you’ve watched for 10 years and this is the last straw, no one cares if you ignore Mercedes and focus on “F1.5”. I say go with your first option and switch off for a year. If you can’t enjoy what were two quite action packed practice sessions and look forward to all the twists and turns F1 provides then maybe it’s not the sport for you.

          2. Tom if you are a true F1 fan you don’t mean seriously, you mean honestly. Or What are we doing here?

          3. @johnmilk
            Now that’s funny!!! LOL. LMAO. Cryin. COTD.

            This is NOT Ping Pong!

      3. They are the only ones with factory Mercedes engines and systems – the rest either have customer units which they aren’t allowed to run at 100% or non-Mercedes units which are vastly inferior.

        @petebaldwin Williams debunked that myth back in 2014 when Smedley was asked if a customer team can beat the works team, Smedley was very clear that contractually Mercedes have to give it’s customer teams exactly the same units that are in the works team cars and that they don’t have any control over what engine settings are used during a race weekend other than advisory capacity. The only clause which allows a difference is if upgrades are in short supply or there is a reliability issue, where generally teams like Williams will say no to a new engine until it is proven to be solid enough due to risk of losing points.

        Of course, there are many different factors in engine performance, such as fuel and oil development etc and by nature if you design something you will understand and benefit from it more than if you simply buy something but the idea that Mercedes are supplying their customer teams with engines that are inferior to their own has been proven to untrue by Mercedes customer teams again and again.

        1. @woodyd91,
          And Paddy Lowe yet again destroyed the mythical narrative of unequal engines he said that the engines are exactly the same and it’s absolutely possibly for Williams to win a championship here: http://en.f1i.com/news/262720-lowe-absolutely-possible-williams-win-championship.html .
          The only rebuttal arguments we ever get when the people who make these accusations are backed into a corner is that the customers are lying. Paddy Lowe who a few months ago was the technical director of Mercedes and would know how the customer teams supply works is lying? or being told to say that?
          1 thing i’ve noticed about F1 fans (in particular the doom mongers) they stick to there arguments no matter how wrong/mythical they are and it gets even worse when they have no facts to back themselves up. In fact this unequal engine myth was started by Red Bull when they were refused a supply by Mercedes and Ferrari.
          It’s getting quite annoying now all the facts disprove it and Paddy Lowe just destroyed it. The Fact is Mercedes supply everyone the same hardware, software, fuel and lubricants.

          1. This is mostly true although fuel and lubricants are independent to each team depending on the partnerships. For example Mclaren in 2014 were around 40hp down on Mercedes due to Exxon Mobil not producing the best of fuel. While software is mostly the same there are some differences but nothing major. Everything else is the same.

          2. Every engine is a unique creation, even when considered the same, they are not.
            All engines are dyno-tested, the best are kept and the rest are distributed.

  5. MG421982 (@)
    24th March 2017, 6:30

    Mercedes seems to be the car to beat (in the hands of HAM), but could be that this race won’t favour Ferrari that much either because of the tyre allocation. I think Ferrari performs better overall with Mediums/Softs rather than SuperSofts/UltraSofts. So, pure speculation at the moment of course, but this round the tyre allocation seem to help Mercedes even more.

    1. You’re speculating on Ferrari performing better on the medium/soft tires. Last year, they were better on the S/SS

      1. MG421982 (@)
        24th March 2017, 6:41

        Yeah, I said it’s speculation on all fronts, but from the tests times it seemed to me that the lap times difference(s) from Mediums/Softs to SuperSofts/UltraSofts weren’t that big as I expected.

        1. “but this round the tyre allocation seem to help Mercedes even more.”

          Doesn’t sound like you’re speculating

          1. So, pure speculation at the moment of course, but this round the tyre allocation seem to help Mercedes even more.

            he literally starts the sentence saying that it is sepculation

          2. Hilarious if quoting @corrado-dub as saying ‘seem’ and failing to see the conjecture :p

          3. @kgn11
            Seriously dude? First off… quote the entire sentence… where he himself admit it’s speculation. Secondly, it’s a post online, not a contract. SO WHAT if it is speculation?

  6. It would be nice to add which tyres the cars were on to the chart. I know a few are mentioned in the article but I usually have to read the comments to get more info.

    1. @brawngp

      Max, Massa, K-Mag and Palmer on softs, everyone else on ultras (do not know however if the time was set on brand new sets or used)

  7. Surely Mercedes can’t be a second faster than Ferrari in race pace? Anxious wait for FIA to release the FP2 data.

    Hamilton was in 1:28s on US. Whereas Vettel was in high 1:28s on SS. Not sure what to make of it now. Bottas was into high 1:27s later in the day on SS.

    A lot to absorb at the start of the season.

    1. And the data is there already. Now need to know what tires Kimi did his times on. Ham and Bottas were on US for the early runs. Ham did over 20 laps on US.

      1. Kimi US / Seb SS / Ric US

        1. Kimi’s times seem more consistent that Vettel’s. Hamilton though had a performance advantage of over .8s on Kimi’s car. Only hope that US isn’t a good tire for Ferrari this season and that they do better on hard compounds.

          RB nowhere to be found.

          The excitement is slowly draining out of me now.

          1. @evered7
            Thats down to lot of Traffic today Vettel encountered alot (the irony)
            Although ive never been in the hype train im angry on RBR they failed to beat Merc in arguably the rules that reignited the passion in newey, they may catch up but who’s to say Merc wont run off again into distance.

          2. Although the rules are probably going Aero way, PU still holds the trump card. But after last year, I surely expected RB to be a lot closer to Merc. They are now a lot behind Ferrari actually.

            Not sure how much of it is due to the suspension tweaking by FIA. One thing about RB though, they improve mid season. Can’t tell the same about Ferrari though.

            2010 seem the last year they made some improvement mid season.

          3. @evered7
            The Point is not RBR vs Ferrari here, its about RBR vs Merc.
            The rule change was done to get rb back to fore by aiding with aero Ferrari never said that they will challenge this season and they are doing their own playing down expectations unlike previous years.
            But until the start of preseason its all about how good the rb13 will be and how much better it can be than W08
            now they are finding it hard and was again in catch up mode instead of atleast equal footing.
            For Ferrari i highly doubt any one expected them to be here in current position before preseason was started considering the turmoil they had.
            As i mentioned earlier they gave advantage to merc by allowing them to extend their gap instead of decreasing it.

          4. I agree. And that is what I mentioned as well. Considering their advantage over Ferrari in the latter part of the season and the rules change in favor of more Aero, I expected RB to be further away from Ferrari in the +ve direction and closer to the Merc as well.

            But it seems otherwise. Anyway, lets wait for the race to be over to really know who is where. But one’s for sure that it will be a Merc on top. Whether Bottas will join Hamilton in the podium or will Ferrari hunt in pack remains to be seen.

    2. Agree. The fastest laps of FP2 are of little relevance as what matters is how they perform on the long runs and the tyres used. Is it absolutely impossible, once the FP 2 data is released to completely erase the single quick laps and make tables on the long runs for each type of tyre available?

      1. Thanks! From the data where the drivers made consistent long runs, Mercedes lapped at 1:28.5, Ferrari marginally sub 1:29 (with Sainz peeking in but dropping off to mid-29s), RBR low 1:29s , most teams around 1:29.5 with Sauber (Ericsson, Wehrlein was another couple of seconds off) at low 1:30s.

  8. How much time did Massa cost Vettel by slowing down? I’m guessing Hamilton would still have been ahead even if Vettel got a clean lap?

    1. Seb was behind Lewis on his qually sim, not Massa

      1. It was probably accidental. The data gained from trying to follow a close rival in a race situation. Vettel would have felt the turbulence coming off the Merc indicating what the gap should be before pouncing for an overtake.

    2. @travis-daye I think your comment comes from this sentence:

      Sebastian Vettel got closest but the Ferrari driver was over half a second behind. He posted his lap after being delayed briefly when Felipe Massa’s Williams came to a stop.

      it didn’t cost him time, Vettel’s program was interrupted by Massa stopping on track, after resuming he posted his fastest lap.

      1. Ah, that makes more sense! Couldn’t watch practice to I’m having to glean what i can from the (always excellent) reporting afterwards!

        1. @travis-daye It’s also worth noting that everybody was impacted by Massa’s stop. Having to back off and start again, apart from VES who had already done his low fuel run on the SS that had been delayed from earlier in the session.

          Something that I did find interesting though is that in testing Ferrari were able to put on the US and do a timed lap, followed by cool down lap and then another time lap and find more time, here though they couldn’t do that and were getting slower.

          Albert Park is very different and not representative of most of the tracks on the calender, so it could be just that the track doesn’t suit the Ferrari that well and they will be better on “traditional” tracks.

          Personally, I think these are the scenarios:
          1. Mercedes have fixed the issues that they had in testing that stopped them from unlocking the true potential of the car. I don’t think they were sandbagging heavily during testing, I think they generally struggled for pace compared to Ferrari.
          2. Ferrari were sandbagging in FP1 & FP2 so they could over deliver on Saturday and grab headlines.
          3. Ferrari just haven’t got the car into the window yet but will be a lot closer or ahead if they do. Their 2016 car was known to be a tricky car to get into the window.
          4. Ferrari just aren’t as competitive as they and the media though they would be, but this is a very strong statement 2 practice sessions into a season.
          5. Mercedes were simply sandbagging massively during testing to fool the grid and have once again built an all conquering car. Personally dont think it’s the case but had to be on the list.

  9. Oh well, the excitement was nice while it lasted.

  10. I think People are quick on jumping by blaming Ferrari after the preseason test and hoping to find out whether they are fast or not.
    Im actually really disappointed by Redbull and Newey where is the aero genius how long does he need to take the car to fine tune and does they expect Merc to stay still. All this New rules is because they and their old ally Mr.Ecclestone wanted to change in the hope of curbing Merc domination. Sure with their inseason dev they might close the gap but i cant see them toppling it any time soon.
    In their pursuit what they actually did is Increasing the gap rather than decreasing it

    1. You do have a point there, sure Red Bull might say it is partly the engine, but not to the tune of a full second, and so, even though we usually are ready to say Ferrari are hopeless to really built a competitive car nowadays, given their budget, they actually did a pretty good job compared to Red Bull. But it seems Mercedes just did better, putting the lid on the Red Bull being kings of aero myth.

      1. @bosyber
        Considering the new rules people expected a RBR vs Merc head on until the pre season test Ferrari was even ranked to be slower than SFI/STR because Aero isn’t good for them and rules are all about Aero.
        Now what we have is Ferrari is where they are for the past few years i.e there or there about they actually did very well to be in this place right now and RBR even with their mighty in season Dev which i doubt will be effective considering merc will launch again a raft of updates to scamper off.
        All they can do is P2 in WCC if Ferrari was not so fast enough and stamps on their tail when they are fast.

        1. Blastermaster
          24th March 2017, 7:21

          I wouldn’t write RB off just yet, or Ferrari, for that matter. The instant gratification generation want Mercedes beaten yesterday.
          FFS, it’s only FP2….

    2. I find it hilarious that anyone is suggesting the field has not closed up.

      It clearly has. A Ferrari is in second place – ahead of a Mercedes driven by a good fast driver. After qualy sim.

      It is only that Hamilton is an astoundingly fast driver who has had a qualifying specialist as a team mate for a few years. One he beat every time. He has put a similar time into Bottas as he frequently did to Rosberg. It’s just because Hamilton beat Rosberg from the word go no one rated him. Yet he really was fast just not as good at racing.

      It’s time for people to realise Hamilton is really that much faster than others.

      Sorry if that disappoints….

      1. sorry im not going down into the Driver better discussions :) (Im never a driver fan i like to see close racing between different teams than single team)
        But right now i feel Merc is out of reach due to their superior advantage extended which is ofcourse down to RBR and Bernie in their foolish thought of they can beat merc if they have more aero to play only to get real understanding that Merc is mighty in every area a complete package.

        1. Don’t then but acknowledge that there are just a few hundredths between Ferrari and Mercedes and we have no idea when RB can do because this has never been their track.

          Honestly what is it that people want? This talk just drives me crazy.

          It’s two FP’s – that’s it!

      2. Put Hamilton in the Renault, will he dominate the field?
        In any form of racing, mechanical dominance leaves drivers to simply not blow it. crash etc…
        Half the drivers could put that thing on pole (Merc). Winning races takes more than the driver, the other factors will hopefully keep things close as the season progresses. Formula 1 has a history of team dominate eras. Plug any variety of drivers into the Williams a number of years ago and Presto!- A World Champion

        1. @edly
          Nice over simplification of motor racing. That has never crossed any of our minds before. Thank you.

          Hamilton wouldn’t be caught dead in that Renault. His skills get him the seat he has.
          Are you new to motor racing, or just into spec series garbage?

          1. XCM I wasn’t taking to you…
            I bet you have Hamilton pajamas and Kiss your posters of him.

            I know more about driving and motorsports than you ever will.
            I won’t waste my time explaining.

          2. Talking…

        2. Kind of, but you still have to beat your teammate, who is also in a Williams/Mercedes/etc. Hey presto, 2nd place.

  11. Ferrari are quickest and ‘trying to keep a lid on the hype’

    – Hamilton 2k17

    1. Ferrari where the quickest as of that quote.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      24th March 2017, 15:51

      @square-route – I think as a senior member of the team, it’s only right that Lewis helps to take some of the pressure off Toto having to say how great Ferrari are every weekend.

  12. The most amazing stat of the day was that Mclaren managed to run without blowing up an engine!

    1. I agree. I was pretty impressed, although, I don’t think they’ve still done a stint of more than 11 laps. I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t blow up and that they actually looked capable of beating Sauber.

      1. I noticed in FP1 the Honda sounded really weird during upshift, like it was pulsing before the power arrived. In FP2 it seemed to have gone away. Looks like Honda are still trying to find the right mapping for their engine.

        Stoffel’s car did look pretty smooth in FP1, but I suspect they werent running at full pelt (if that even means anything!), but looked handful during Fernando’s US qualy sim in FP2. Mark Webber was going on about how Fernando managing to hold the car on the limit in our local broadcast here in Oz.

        If Mclaren make into Q2, that’d be a success, and if they finish infront of a Renault or Hass, it’d be a good weekend.

        1. I agree.

          Even one Mclaren making it to Q2 would be progress. If they finish the race it would have definitely exceeded their targets. If they both finish the race and are not in last place…. it’s as good as winning a championship for them.

    2. @jaymenon10 they were/are sandbagging

  13. I know that all the action is with Hamilton / Vettel / Bottas… but… I know this is sad…. I am actually relieved to see Alonso in 12th…. I was fearing that Mclaren would be last in every session. Lets hope that they can at least make Q2.

    (Yes, I am a tragic Mclaren fan. It has been a very sad 4 years!).

    1. I feel your pain. I gave up on McLaren in 2012, turns out I saved myself a lot of heartache. Even with a fast car, they couldn’t do anything.

    2. Right! let’s see what happens, I dearly want to see a much more competitive McLaren this season otherwise it’s a waste of two exceptionally talented drivers.

      Honda it seems have to work miracles ready for the next engine swap.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      24th March 2017, 15:52

      Have they even managed to run a half race distance in one go with the 2017 car yet?

  14. The letdown.

    1. Let down by your own expectations. No one at Ferrari said they would be running rings around Mercedes.

      1. Right on. The only people hyping up Ferrari were journalists hoping to get people excited to read more of their work, and Mercedes. As usual, I might add. Some people can still be convinced, it seems.

        Can Liberty just give the prizes to these guys already and let us enjoy a good season? Pretty please?

  15. New regulations, new management, new expectations … same result.

    1. @todfod
      Are you surprised? Mercedes have the best designers, biggest budget, best engineers, best facilities… why would anyone assume that in a major redesign they wouldn’t come out on top?

      1. It’s safe to assume that even the best teams don’t get it completely right every time. Guess I was wrong…

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          24th March 2017, 15:58

          They could get the aero horribly wrong and they’d still be on pole with the works Mercedes PU.

      2. If i’m not mistaken Ferrari has the biggest budget.

  16. Hurrah! Hammy 4th title please. :-D

  17. The really exciting part is McLaren 12th and Vandoorne doing 33 laps.

  18. Looks like Force India are going to have a not-so-good start to the year.

  19. it’s true that it’s not looking good, but let’s wait til qualify or race day to see what can happen. Maybe Ferrari or someone else is still sandbagging? (please let it be so)

  20. So normal services have resumed with Merc being comfortably ahead and some mentioned this time he doesn’t even have a teammate that can challenge him.

    Given that Allison has moved to Merc and he should know a lot about the Ferrari car, I can imagine that their advantage over Ferrari is going to grow in the course of the year. Just hope that RedBulls have some ace in their sleeves…

  21. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    24th March 2017, 8:32

    It may take Bottas some time to get used to the car, but once he gets used to it, I think he’ll be pretty close to Hamilton. There were several of occasions in 2014 where the 2 were having a scrap fighting for position and in Germany, Bottas did a great job of keeping Hamilton behind. I’m certain he’ll be able to have several decent starts this season and be able to have a similar race. There were also 2 races in 2015 where he did a very good job at keeping the faster Ferrari’s behind him. One race it was Raikkonen and the other was Vettel and neither of them managed to find a way though. When the car Bottas is driving is strong, I think he is really good at defending his position.
    I remember once or twice in the room before the podium that Hamilton was speaking to Bottas about how incredible his pace was. I’m certain he’ll have many more very strong weekends now he’s in the same car as Hamilton. It just may take him a little time to get used to it.

    I don’t like the amount of people I’m seeing that are instantly deciding he is a weak team mate just because of 2 practice sessions before even the 1st race has happened. I don’t think he’ll be as good as Hamilton but I think he will be good enough to make Mercedes want to keep him for next year.

    1. Absolutely spot on.

    2. I agree. Bottas will get a couple of wins this year and will put up a good fight. Next year if he gets a drive he could challenge HAM for the title.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      24th March 2017, 16:03

      Yeah I agree – waaaay to early to write Bottas off. He just needs to focus on finishing 2nd which should be fairly easy and by the time they head back to Europe, he should be up to speed and only a few points behind.

    4. Javier javier
      24th March 2017, 16:10

      bahrain 2015? did you actually see it? vettel was closing the gap but every time that merc engine hit the straight it would recover it… i dont remember the one with kimi

      1. Javier javier who you trying to fool? It’s well known that Mercedes advantage for the last 3 years was more than HP on the straight.

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        24th March 2017, 21:21

        Javier javier

        You ask me if I actually saw Bahrain? Well since you don’t remember a race where Bottas kept Kimi behind him for ages, then did you not watch Russia? Bottas had Kimi right behind him for over 20 laps but he eventually crashed into Bottas on the last lap. Bottas may have been helped a lot by the speed on the straights but there is no doubt that his defending was extremely good in that race. Kimi got so close to completing an overtake at loads of corners but because of Bottas’s defending, he struggled to get past. He was within DRS range for pretty much all of those 20 laps.

        It was pretty much the same in Bahrain. He managed to keep Vettel behind for around 15 laps. Vettel had plenty of chances at the bends but he just couldn’t quite manage it.

        Even last year in Italy when Hamilton had a bad start, Bottas managed to defend against Hamilton for around 6 laps and that also was pretty impressive considering how much worse the Williams was last year.

        If Bottas manages to get a good start this year, he will probably be quite tough to get past at times based on some of his previous races.

  22. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    24th March 2017, 9:00

    Ugh. Okay sorry, pessimistic about this year now.

    It really would have been nice to see a championship fight between multiple teams and drivers again.

    Why don’t they just give Hamilton and Mercedes the trophies now? Save time later? So dull.

    1. Blastermaster
      24th March 2017, 9:21

      You people have no patience, seriously…..

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        24th March 2017, 16:04

        Everyone still watching F1 has patience. Lots of it!

    2. Well let’s have a season of racing first @rocketpanda . Wow what fan writes off an entire F1 season after 2 practice sessions ? I think people need to calm down a bit and see how things unfold.

  23. So Ferrari is quickest Right?

  24. If bottas gets dominated by hamilton this year it could do more for rosbergs reputation than anything he could’ve done had he stayed in the sport.

  25. It’s only Friday, guys. Cool your jets

  26. Is it just me or are the teams making increasingly creative use of the zone of the T-wing?
    • The Williams T-wing is now supplemented with a downward coathanger-like contraption.
    • The Mercedes T-wing is more of a double loop with a smaller additional wing on top.
    • The Haas T-wing is pretty straightforward, but it does sprout a small upward fin (“finlet” anyone?) in the middle.
    • And if my eyes don’t deceive me, the Sauber has a minuscule T-winglet on top of its shark fin.

    I am very much intrigued by all this ingenuity, but I have to admit the esthetics do suffer as a result. I just hope this doesn’t herald a return to the era of ridiculous winglets and outlandish aero design that made e.g. the 2008 cars hurt my eyes.

    1. @WimBR Sauber was testing different versions of the sharkfin and T-wing during the practice. Wherlain was driving with a more standard T-wing.

  27. Some interesting battles and observations:
    1. Hulkenberg vs Grosjean
    2. Finn vs Finn (Bottas vs Kimi)
    3. Torro Rosso quick out of the box (seems to be better than Force India)
    4. Mclaren car is not bad when it running. But can it complete a GP?

  28. Some interesting battles and observations:
    1. Hulkenberg vs Grosjean
    2. Finn vs Finn (Bottas vs Kimi)
    3. Torro Rosso quick out of the box (seems to be better than Force India)
    4. Mclaren car is not bad when it running. But can it complete a GP?

  29. Despite all the doom and gloom, let’s just take a minute to appreciate how amazing the W08 looks in the picture at the top of the page. If nothing else, the cars this year look truly spectacular.

    1. @mazdachris

      The Mercedes looks even better in this picture

  30. I can’t wait for F1 this year!!! But I’m hearing so much negativity I find it strange. F1 has never been wheel to wheel racing lap after lap from what I can remember?? It’s always been this way surely?? Except for a couple of years in the RB era when they were pushed.. intra team battles are generally where it is at and last year was a stonking good one and this year looks to be awesome too (outside of the merc’)!

    If you’re desperate for wheel to wheel, can I suggest the Australian v8 series (supercars now…)especially Bathurst! Yey – awesome track to watch) and Le Man’s which is the craziest 24 hour endurance event I’ve ever seen with a surprising amount of track position overtaking over the past few years! And keep watching F1 because it’s also fab!!!!! xxx

  31. Racing aside, I must say I’m liking the new timing loop graphic from FOM.

  32. So from the looks of things, Mercedes remain fastest (for now), but anything can happen during this year so maybe they won’t win every single race in which most people seem to think right now. Ferrari may have more pace to show too, maybe another 2-3 tenths.

    As for McLaren, atleast they managed to run their car without it blowing up.

    Also, I hope we have a great start to this season similar to 2010 or 2012. I don’t want to see Hamilton concerto of dominance, if that makes sense…

  33. I think the gap to Hamilton actually bodes well for Bottas. Cast your mind back to 2013 and Hamilton came into Rosberg’s team of 3 years, went half a second faster in practice, then half a second faster in qualifying.

    If Bottas being brand new to the team only has the same deficit to a Hamilton who is now settled into the team for 4 years, that Rosberg who had been settled with the team for 3 years had to Hamilton when Hamilton was brand new to the team, I think that would suggest Bottas has more potential than Rosberg ever had.

    When Bottas becomes more settled with Mercedes, combined with gaining from Hamiltons data I think we will see him closer to Hamilton in time than Rosberg ever was.

  34. Bottas / Alonso swap in 2018 and Mclaren gets Mercedes engines for signing Bottas.

  35. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    24th March 2017, 19:41

    Who has the best car in the rain this year? Because it looks like a wet qualy session. That will spice things up for sure.

  36. I am super excited after yesterday’s practice ……..

    For 2018 of course ……

    There is nothing to see here this year. Without even a competition like rosberg Lewis is going to run over the field !!!!!

Comments are closed.