Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2019

Hamilton leads the Ferraris by less than a tenth in first practice

2019 Australian Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton led the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix but both Ferraris lapped with a tenth of a second of the Mercedes driver.

An intriguingly close opening session of the 2019 F1 season also saw Max Verstappen get his Honda-powered Red Bull within two-tenths of a second of the Mercedes.

Under sunny skies in Melbourne the Mercedes drivers consistently headed the practice times. Ferrari waited until the second half of the session to show their hand. Charles Leclerc was first to get within a tenth of Hamilton’s best time, before Sebastian Vettel fractionally improved on his new team mate’s mark.

Verstappen’s rapid lap demoted Valtteri Bottas to fifth-quickest. The Mercedes driver spun at turn 15 when he dropped his wheels into the grass on the entry to the corner, and came close to swiping the wall as he rejoined.

Pierre Gasly was over a second down on his team mate, allowing two of the midfielders to separate the Red Bulls. They were led by Kimi Raikkonen, who was the first driver to join the track in his Alfa Romeo, and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso. Three Honda-powered cars therefore featured in the top eight times.

The fourth, belonging to Alexander Albon, caused the only red flag of the session. The rookie went into the wall backwards at turn two and spun to a stop with his front wing missing. He was able to drive back to the pits but his session was done.

Kevin Magnussen put his Haas ninth and Nico Hulkenberg, who didn’t join the track until the final 15 minutes due to an electronic problem on his Renault, completed the top 10. Team mate Daniel Ricciardo was briefly held up on his quickest lap by Romain Grosjean.

The Williams pair endured a difficult session. Robert Kubica was almost two seconds off the next slowest car. Rookie team mate George Russell ended the session last having encountered difficulty leaving his garage on his first run due to the cramped Albert Park pit lane.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.59926
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’23.6370.03818
316Charles LeclercFerrari1’23.6730.07418
433Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’23.7920.19322
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1’23.8660.26730
67Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’24.8161.21718
726Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’24.8321.23330
810Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’24.9321.33323
920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’24.9341.33524
1027Nico HulkenbergRenault1’25.0151.41611
1199Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’25.1661.56723
128Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’25.2241.62518
1323Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’25.2301.63121
1455Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’25.2851.68619
1518Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’25.2881.68926
1611Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’25.4981.89921
173Daniel RicciardoRenault1’25.6342.03516
184Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’25.9662.36731
1988Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’27.9144.31525
2063George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’28.7405.14125

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First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’23.599

+0.038 Sebastian Vettel – 1’23.637

+0.074 Charles Leclerc – 1’23.673

+0.193 Max Verstappen – 1’23.792

+0.267 Valtteri Bottas – 1’23.866

+1.217 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’24.816

+1.233 Daniil Kvyat – 1’24.832

+1.333 Pierre Gasly – 1’24.932

+1.335 Kevin Magnussen – 1’24.934

+1.416 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’25.015

+1.567 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’25.166

+1.625 Romain Grosjean – 1’25.224

+1.631 Alexander Albon – 1’25.230

+1.686 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’25.285

+1.689 Lance Stroll – 1’25.288

+1.899 Sergio Perez – 1’25.498

+2.035 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’25.634

+2.367 Lando Norris – 1’25.966

+4.315 Robert Kubica – 1’27.914

+5.141 George Russell – 1’28.740

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 Australian Grand Prix

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    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...

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    35 comments on “Hamilton leads the Ferraris by less than a tenth in first practice”

    1. The midfield looks great… but, oh Williams!

      1. It feels bad for Williams man…

        1. Do you think we should organise a collective community car building day to help Williams out? Surely our effort can’t be any worse.

          I think I’m experiencing the five stages of grief with them.

          1. EmancipatedMonkeys
            15th March 2019, 9:01

            I’m planning on heading to Grove for my gap year. Sort of thing that looks good on your university applications.

    2. I think the engine suppliers have gotten a bit muddled up in the list (Toro Rosso-Renault, Haas-Mercedes, Renault-Mercedes, Racing Point-Honda, Williams-Ferrari).

    3. Wow….Mercedes is supplying Renault with engines…didn’t hear about this one!!!!!!!

    4. I heard rumors that representatives from MasterCard were seen in the Williams Garage and that they were interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities.

      1. Steven F Eng
        15th March 2019, 3:00

        I heard it’s being negotiated by someone named Lola…

      2. Lol I see what you did there.

      3. @mrmuffins haha, that’s cold.

    5. Another frustrating season awaits Williams :(

      1. A terrible one :(

    6. I realized Mercedes was talking BS about their gap to Ferrari that exact moment when Lewis said they’re not talking BS.

      1. The ferraris never go quick on practices, and they were not attacking the corners like borras and Hamilton did. Impressed by peeled, he might win the championship this year.

      2. It’s Lewis that made the difference, look were Bottas is 🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️

        1. Not really it’s just P1 but we already have an idea, the champions are the team to beat this year.

        2. It’s Max, Kimi, Daniil that made the difference, look were their teammates are.
          It’s Seb who couldn’t made the difference.

    7. Loving how close that midfield is! Great season ahead of us

    8. The ferraris did less laps than the Mercedes which tell me they are confident with the car balance and performance. Thanks god, kimmo is not driving the Ferrari, because perle. Seems to be way better than him.

    9. I know its only FP1..but oh Toto, Lewis and Merc…we just love your jokes…hahaha

      Looks like the midfield are no closer to the top six, so status quo.

      Williams is only 4 secs off the pace, hopefully the make the 107% rule in Qualy.

    10. Racing Point Honda
      Toro Rosso Renault
      Hass Mercedes
      William Ferrari
      Someone had bad morning.

      1. I was just about to say that.

        1. @nin13 Apologies, new-season glitch! Fixed now.

          1. I guess FP sessions are for ironing out the kinks….

      2. Lewisham Milton
        15th March 2019, 9:44

        Alfa Romeo-Ferrari… that’s for real, and will take a bit of getting used to. An improvement on BMW Sauber-Ferrari though!

    11. Looks like Alonso made the right decision and left. My money is on Ferrari and RBR this season. With Leclarc and Vers to be dominating mid-season. Bottas might take out hamilton as he needs to be aggressive to keep his seat. The top 3 teams look to have parity, this will finally be a good season.

    12. I heard it’s being negotiated by someone named Lola…

      1. Oh Lola. They made beautiful and fast cars in Indycar but with Mastercard forcing them to compete in F1 a season sooner than they were ready to, the company was crippled.

    13. To my tired old eyes the main points so far seems Lewis looks impeccable (hard to admit) Seb looks fast and hungry, Charles looks fast but one turn away from providing some thrills. Max has the Red Bull glued to the track , Valtteri looks capable of an upset (great save by the way) and Kimi looks relaxed and capable of running good race pace. Dan hmm doesn’t seem as one with either the car or track, even allowing for him coming upon RJ going slowly on the racing line, (even harder to admit). Hulk seems easing into it with more to come. Grosjean hasn’t changed.

    14. I’m cautiously hopeful we’re going to see more of 2014’s Kvyat this year.
      I still remember how ludicrously good he was in Monza that year, starting at the back but managed to charge through the field, passing his teammate along the way, and was already hounding Raikkonen for tenth before his brakes failed.

    15. Mercedes were sandbagging all along as usual. Probably sandbagging in practice too.

      Ricciardo is nowhere. This move to Renault might show everyone how good Hulkenberg is.

    16. So all that McLaren promise from pre-season testing hasn’t materialized? And Mercedes is back where it left last season.

    17. Cristiano Ferreira
      15th March 2019, 4:32

      Williams are trying hard to emulate Marussia from 2015 / 2016.

      Are they within the 107% rule? I guess not

      1. They are. For this session it would be 1:29.450

    18. Was FP1 horribly unwatchable live on F1TV for anybody else? The stuttering and dropouts in signal were pretty unbearable at times. No wonder it was 50% off
      Also is there any other way to watch F1TV than a web browser on your PC?

    Comments are closed.