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2018 F1

Hamilton fastest in Australian FP1 as McLaren hits trouble

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Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton set fastest lap-time in the season – opening practice session for Australian Grand Prix. The Brit set half a second clear ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas to lead Mercedes one-two, both are made flying lap on ultra-soft tyre.

Red Bull ace Max Verstappen charge in third place. The Ferrari duo came next followed by the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, the ‘top three’ teams lodging their typical place at the top of the standings. Ferrari were not used ultra soft compound.

The local hero Ricciardo finished sixth in ahead of Romain Grosjean, who continued Haas F1 remarkable form from winter testing to finish as the top midfielder.

Following frequent problems through winter testing, McLaren’s miseries continued in the opening practice session of the season as duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne lost practice battle due to an exhaust problem. McLaren duo were separated by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Renault, who set ninth fastest.

Toro Rosso-Honda out on a place inside the top 10 – Pierre Gasly, who manged 11th and his teammate Brendon Hartley lost running in the middle of the session to an issue in his Honda-powered STR13, leaving him 18th overall.

The drivers in the middle of the pack after Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari were as tightly grouped as expected with just a second separating Romain Grosjean of Haas in seventh place and Sergio Perez of Force India in 16th position.

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