Teams still struggle with reliability problems

Lewis Hamilton lent some credibility to the hype surrounding Mercedes by posting the fastest time in Friday’s practice at the Australian Grand Prix, as the Formula One season kicked off with teams still battling reliability problems.

The 2008 world champion could not finish a lap in the first session due to a sensor problem, but topped the timesheets in the second with a lap of one minute 29.625 seconds on a glorious sunny day at Albert Park.

Alonso impresses

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso handled conditions better than most, posting the quickest lap of one minute 31.840 seconds in the first session and finishing third fastest in the second.

Reigning quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel had a couple of nervy skids, coming onto the grass at one point in the later session, but finished an encouraging fourth, having endured a dismal winter testing with Red Bull.

Top ten: FP1: 1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:31.840, 2. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:32.357, 3. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:32.403, 4. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:32.431, 5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:32.599, 6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:32.604, 7. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:32.793, 8. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 1:32.847, 9. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:32.977, 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:33.446.

FP2: 1. Lewis Hamilton 1:29.625, 2. Rosberg 1:29.782, 3. Alonso 1:30.132, 4. Vettel 1:30.381, 5. Button 1:30.510, 6. Ricciardo 1:30.538, 7. Raikkonen 1:30.898, 8. Bottas 1:30.920, 9. Magnussen 1:31.031, 10. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:31.054.

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