Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2018

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in opening practice session

2018 Australian Grand Prix first practice

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It was business as usual for Mercedes in the first practice session of the 2018 F1 season as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas headed the times comfortably.

Reigning world champion Hamilton used a set of ultra-soft tyres to set the fastest time of the session with a 1’24.026, almost two-tenths of a second faster than his session-topping time from 12 months ago.

Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Albert Park, 2018
Australian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Bottas was over half a second behind in second place, followed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. The Ferrari pair came next followed by the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, the ‘big three’ teams occupying their usual place at the top of the standings.

Romain Grosjean made good on the promise Haas showed in pre-season testing by setting the seventh-fastest time, albeit over six-tenths of a second off the leading group.

The session began badly for McLaren as an exhaust problem kept Fernando Alonso to the garage. Over an hour passed before either driver set a time, but after late runs both ended up inside the top 10. The pair were separated by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Renault.

Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso-Honda missed out on a place inside the top 10 by just one hundredth of a second. Sergey Sirotking was close behind in the Williams.

The quickest Force India belong to Esteban Ocon in 14th place as the team conducted aerodynamic tests on its new upgrade package for the opening race. The Sauber pair occupied the bottom of the times sheets.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’24.02627
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’24.5770.55129
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’24.7710.74526
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’24.8750.84923
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’24.9950.96922
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’25.0631.03725
78Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’25.7301.70424
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’25.8961.87016
955Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’25.9221.89623
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’26.4822.45615
1110Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’26.4942.46825
1235Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’26.5362.51025
1327Nico HulkenbergRenault1’26.5832.55725
1431Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’26.6052.57930
1518Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’26.6362.61030
1611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’26.7672.74126
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’27.0353.00913
1828Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’27.7453.71916
199Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’27.9643.93828
2016Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’28.8534.82728

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’24.026

+0.551 Valtteri Bottas – 1’24.577

+0.745 Max Verstappen – 1’24.771

+0.849 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’24.875

+0.969 Sebastian Vettel – 1’24.995

+1.037 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’25.063

+1.704 Romain Grosjean – 1’25.730

+1.870 Fernando Alonso – 1’25.896

+1.896 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’25.922

+2.456 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’26.482

+2.468 Pierre Gasly – 1’26.494

+2.510 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’26.536

+2.557 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’26.583

+2.579 Esteban Ocon – 1’26.605

+2.610 Lance Stroll – 1’26.636

+2.741 Sergio Perez – 1’26.767

+3.009 Kevin Magnussen – 1’27.035

+3.719 Brendon Hartley – 1’27.745

+3.938 Marcus Ericsson – 1’27.964

+4.827 Charles Leclerc – 1’28.853

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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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...

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38 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in opening practice session”

  1. Was Kimi’s 24.8 actually done on softs?

    1. Yes, but which softs ?

      1. Yellow Soft

        1. Super softs

          1. javier javier
            23rd March 2018, 4:09

            Kimi was on soft.. f1 website show he only used the yellows

    2. Supers. No surprises in the fairly normal fp1. Horner looked a bit shocked in his sky interview.
      McLaren had issues, Alonso shook his head and then the rest of the car on track, he was very quickly up to speed and the McLaren looks to be just as quick as expected.
      FOM’s graphics weren’t glitching out like last year, when they didn’t work right the whole weekend. The new graphics are from an accessibility perspective, very bad, not a clever layout. The replay sound is “odd” and the tower graphic are apparently alive since they hide the times whenever they like. Finally the in car cameras are awful, I thought they had been moved but they don’t seem to, all we can see is the thing we don’t want to see.

      1. Not supers. But Soft. Check the F1 twitter with the FP1 results goddammit

      2. Was going to comment on the cameras. Absolutely awful. What are they thinking? Didn’t Liberty or the FIA at least look through them during testing? Mercedes and Renault (I think) at least weren’t aimed at the halo. The rest? Why would I pay for in-car shots of a roll hoop? Stupid.

        1. Yeah. They need show since now, just the picture from the top one camera. And not that middle one, – that is between the top (most old and good) camera and helmet camera.
          In the beginning of FP1 director showed picture from that top camera, and it was really fine.
          But after some 20 mins he start show the toilet seat picture from middle camera. Why.

  2. bargeboards this year are just next level crazy

  3. wow, this list still says STR-Renault and McHonda….

  4. Sounds better ! And I like seeing the suspension working hard on the bumpy track, just like LH said a week or so ago, more like real cars and less like scalectrix. I am making the most of the only GP of the year I can watch practice, qualifying and the race, I hope LibertyM can make their online version available sooner in OZ.
    PS. It helps that it’s a rainy day here.

    1. @hohum The onboard fake sound of the outboard, outboard the mics weren’t picking up that much. The Mercs always look like they can be driven on the edge on slow corners, superb action that this track always delivers.

  5. Pretty big gap from the last Red Bull to the first Hass.

    1. *Haas

      1. the same size as 1st to third !

  6. I really don’t want to be negative & just sound like I hate everything & I do generally like the style of the graphics as well as the general presentation of the broadcast….. But there are issues that I really feel need to be looked at.

    I honestly think that the Font is terrible (I really am having a difficult time reading it), The replay transition sound is awful, Some of the new OnBoard mic placements make the OnBoards sound pretty bad & The Halo has ruined the side mounted camera (I actually don’t think it’s too bad from the T-cam).

    Some parts of the graphics are bigger than necessary (Lap time graphic), Some are a bit smaller than they maybe should be (The timing tower), Some parts of them are a bit awkward (The fastest sector popup), some of the background/text colors kind of blend together & a lot of the team logo’s featured on the graphics are pretty much impossible to see.

    Trackside mic levels are inconsistent. Some sounded a bit quiet but others were a bit too loud & drowned out the commentary.

    1. @stefmeister I agree with you regarding the TV graphics. I prefer the previous design, and I also liked the 2010-14 design.

    2. @stefmeister i am agreeing with much of this.

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      23rd March 2018, 3:28

      100% in agreement. Hopefully this was just a ‘beta test’…

    4. @stefmeister Agree about the font. Found it a lot trickier to read than I was expecting actually & I gather there has been a lot of feedback to broadcasters along those lines throughout FP1 via social media.
      Like I said yesterday Liberty are going to meet with various parties over the next few weeks (Including people representing those with disabilities & brain injuries who i’ve been told can have difficulties with certain styles of font) & I expect the font will change, Or at the very least get tweaked in some way.

      Graphics overall are a work in progress as like with a lot of Liberty ideas they were rushed & still been worked on this morning which is perhaps why some of them didn’t work early in FP1.

      And only some of the cars have the new on-car mic location as it’s still been trailed. It may not be kept where it is on the cars it’s on.

    5. The font “looks” good but is hard to read. So it fails at its one job of communicating information. What was worse was them putting in the team logo next to each driver name on the left of the screen, which was practically impossible to make out.

      The opening video was nice, the music was a bit too movie-ish for my tastes (it makes you think of suspense, drama and a twist, with none of those guaranteed in a sport).

      I can definitely see the beginnings of an Americanization of the feed, and that does not enthuse me.

      I’m still to get used to the sheer size of the halo from the on-board shots (and I support the halo!).

      1. @phylyp It’s because it’s close to the camera.

    6. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the new graphics. Some things are too big, others too small. Some bits you can’t read due to the semi transparent background.

      I also noticed the track graphic shown before the session started, and thought well at least they kept that. But then they started zooming in on certain corners, declaring them as “action zones”, and showing historical footage of crashes at those locations. I suspect that appeals to a certain type of viewer… But not your average F1 fan. Action doesn’t have to involve a crash.

  7. Surprised how little the car performance has improved since this time last year, when the teams invest so much in in-season development through 2017, then build entirely new cars for the new season, bolt on softer compound tires and the time difference is only 2 tenths for FP1. The engines must be tuned right down to last through the season and perhaps the halo is unsettling the COG quite a bit.

    I was also expecting a much closer field spread… let’s see what FP2 brings.

    1. On a positive note I was impressed with the presentation and new graphics, and the sound of the cars has been improved greatly. Liberty kicking goals.

      1. @aussierod i disagree here. i think the font & type-set is absolutely abysmal. easily the worst i have ever seen and i really am finding it very difficult to read any of the graphics or the timing screens.

        it is not just a case of me not liking the font it is that i simply cannot read the font & its even worse on the smaller tv in the bedroom where all text is completely unreadable due to this font, was never an issue with the graphics of last seasons. it is simply unfathomable why they choose this font, just terrible absolutely terrible.

        and the sounds from trackside are ok but some of the on-car camera sounds are bad enough that i turned the volume off for the onboard camera feeds on the sky ipad app. they some sound fine but some of the cars seemingly have the microphones in new places and its just bad, like wasps rather than cars. lewis hamiltons is especially worse. i really hope they change them back to where they were before.

        i fear that the worst is yet to come with some of the graphics that have shown up, the heinekan hot lap and dhl drs nonsence.

        1. Yep point taken, and I was thinking more of the opening circuit graphics and the ‘action corners’ bit they added. A nice touch I thought. And the outboard sounds of the cars coming out of the garages and on track sounded much better and louder to me.

          I was streaming on my phone, so no comment on the fonts and ladder, could barely see them :)
          And yes, the onboard sound is ‘tinny’ and trying to be something it’s not.
          And the halo is most certainly a disaster, especially with the current camera positions.

          But don’t get me started, I was trying to be positive for the start of the year :P

  8. Keith Crossley
    23rd March 2018, 3:13

    Tried to find practice on ESPN but a complete fail. Search for “formula one” – it returned “Australian Grand Prix Practice” but with something like “You have to subscribe”. Called cable company – they couldn’t subscribe or solve it. This does not bode well for the US. Hope the rest of you are seeing something… you think Liberty Media could get this right?

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      23rd March 2018, 3:47

      Is this any use? http://www.espn.in/f1/story/_/id/22869420/australian-grand-prix-2018-on-favourite-etc

      It says practice was on ESPN3… is that a streaming-only service or a real channel? Not sure, as I’m not in the US.

    2. I watched it in the USA on my Ipad. Download the ESPN3 app and sign in through your service provider. In my case Frontier Communications. Need to get used to the constant talking of the Sky team…

    3. Latin America is also a mess. Fox Sports has the rights but as today they seem undecided in which channel to show and nobody knows if the race will be in the regular Fox Sports 3 or Fox Premium which requires extra payment. To make things worse yesterday Liberty sold their streaming service just to cancel it a few hours later.

    4. Keith Crossley
      23rd March 2018, 13:33

      Thanks all. I’ll try the ESPN3 app and chromecast to TV. Which I’m sure every household in the US will do also.

  9. Neil (@neilosjames)
    23rd March 2018, 3:28

    Not liking the dumbed-down graphics… removing the hundredths and thousandths from the ‘live time’ makes it look sloppy and it’s harder for me to properly follow a time, and understand how good a lap is, with just one decimal place (if that makes sense) – I’m used to greater precision.

    It also takes up too much space – not sure how it would look with multiple times across the bottom of the screen, as we often had last year. And I’d rather know the time instantly, not the (usually irrelevant) gap to P1. It was also missing a lot of tyre information, if my memory serves me correctly.

    Like @stefmeister I don’t want to come across as overly negative, but… on-screen graphics are a pretty big thing, and it seems like they’ve been stripped down and dumbed down for absolutely no reason at all. I don’t want to have to download and pay for an app to be able to see what tyres a driver is using…

  10. Oucj, judging by the times Mercedes is about half a second forward? Pre season predictions seem spot on. Maybe Red Bull is not clearly ahead of Ferrari, but certainly there abouts.

  11. For the graphics, I actually quite like them. They’re clean, informative, and they have quite a bit of depth to them. My only complaint would probably be that the tower is a tad too small. Apart from that, the graphics look quite updated, along with subtle touches like dimming the colours to indicate cars in the pits.
    Say what you will, it’s my opinion, and I totally understand that some people don’t share it.

  12. McLaren with problems yet again. I hope they work it out and they don’t turn out a “back of the field” team again. Maybe all the “Honda problems” weren’t just Honda and they have genuine quality control issues. Let’s hope not, as it would be nice to see them in the mix again – McLaren & Williams both.

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