Melbourne FP1: Rosberg heads Mercedes one-two

Rosberg Mercedes Australia

Mercedes dominated the first free practice of the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, with Nico Rosberg edging his world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton to top the timesheets.

German Rosberg, last year’s championship runner-up, rolled out of the garage early to set the fastest lap of 1:29.557 on a glorious day at Albert Park, topping Hamilton by a little under three-tenths of a second.

The first run in Melbourne underlined the reigning world champions’ ominous form at winter testing, even as rival teams struggled.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was the best of the rest, the Finn’s fastest lap almost 1.2 seconds shy of last year’s race winner Rosberg.

Toro Rosso’s two rookies Carlos Sainz and 17-year-old Max Verstappen, who is set to become Formula One’s youngest ever race driver on Sunday, also impressed.


Sainz finished fourth fastest, with Verstappen sixth behind four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was making his debut for Ferrari.

Dogged by reliability problems during winter testing, the gloom in the McLaren garage played out on the track as Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, sitting in for Fernando Alonso, finished the slowest of the 15 cars that registered flying lap times.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, the only racer to win last season apart from the two Mercedes drivers, finished 10th fastest and pulled the first spin of the season, the Australian losing control for a brief roll into the grass.

With intrigue still hanging over the Sauber garage after their court battles with dumped Dutchman Giedo van der Garde, none of their cars pulled out onto the track.


Van der Garde was at Albert Park, suited up and apparently ready to drive after winning a court case against Sauber to be allowed to drive for the team.

Sauber’s nominated drivers, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr, jumped in the cars but did not head out to the circuit.

Manor Marussia, having only recently emerged from administration, were unable to put either of their cars on the track.

Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park – Friday, Free Practice 1
PNameTeamBest TimeLaps
1Nico RosbergMercedes1:29.55719
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:29.58619
3Valtteri BottasWilliams1:30.74820
4Carlos Sainz JrToro Rosso1:31.01432
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1:31.02913
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:31.06731
7Felipe MassaWilliams1:31.18819
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:31.31014
9Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:31.45122
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:31.5709
11Daniil KvyatRed Bull1:32.07318
12Sergio PerezForce India1:32.24722
13Nico HulkenbergForce India1:32.26119
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:34.5426
15Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1:34.7857
16Romain GrosjeanLotus2:17.7825