GP Australia, prove libere venerdì–18/03/2016
Lewis Hamilton fastest in Melbourne practice, Nico Rosberg crashes
Lewis Hamilton set the pace while Nico Rosberg started his 2016 Formula 1 campaign in ignominious fashion as the weather put a dampener on Australian Grand Prix Friday practice.
A heavy downpour soaked the Melbourne track between sessions, and added to the cool 17-degree air temperature it meant intermediate tyre running only in practice two.
A further shower 15 minutes from the end, at a time when the track was drying and the teams may have been considering slicks, ensured the times stayed considerably off the pace of the morning, which Hamilton had topped in 1m29.725s.
A number of drivers did venture out when the conditions were poor early in the session, but it went wrong for Rosberg half an hour in.
The German aquaplaned out of Turn 6 and lost control of his Mercedes, sending him into a wall and wrecking the new-for-2016 nose that was trialled during the second pre-season test.
Rosberg was able to continue, but with the wing lodged underneath his car, he was told by the pitwall to stop and pull over given the debris being created.
Mercedes at least confirmed it has spares available to ensure Rosberg runs with the new-spec nose over the weekend.
While Rosberg was left watching from the pits, Hamilton again topped the timesheet but, indicative of the conditions, his lap of 1m38.841s was nine seconds down on his earlier benchmark.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was poised to go quickest at one point as he set new bests in the first two sectors, only to lose time in the final sector as the late shower hit.
The Mexican stayed ninth, 2.415s behind Hamilton and two seconds down on team-mate Nico Hulkenberg who finished closest to the Briton, 0.467s adrift.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, home hero Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull, and Carlos Sainz Jr for Toro Rosso all finished within a second of Hamilton as they filled the top five.
The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were sixth and seventh, just over a second down, followed by Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari and then Perez.
Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10, but 3.5s adrift, followed by the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, with the Mexican four seconds off the pace.
Manor’s rookie duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto were 12th and 14th, albeit completing the most laps with 24 and 22 respectively, sandwiching Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
Rosberg finished last of those that set a time as Renault pair Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, and Williams team-mates Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas only completed exploratory installation laps.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, along with Max Verstappen, failed to leave the garage at all.
|2||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.308s||0.467s||8|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m39.535s||0.694s||9|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m39.694s||0.853s||16|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.256s||2.415s||8|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m42.411s||3.570s||10|
Lewis Hamilton sets pace in rain-hit first Australian GP practice
Lewis Hamilton topped the times in a rain-interrupted session as the 2016 Formula 1 season got under way with first Australian Grand Prix practice at Melbourne’s Albert Park.
The reigning world champion clocked a 1m29s.725s for Mercedes, 0.421 seconds quicker than Red Bull’s Danill Kvyat with Daniel Ricciardo seven tenths adrift in third.
Rain earlier in the morning soaked the track and though a dry line appeared, the session was disjointed as showers fell intermittently throughout.
Drivers were limited to a 15-minute window towards the end of the a 90-minute session to get some representative dry running in.
A heavy shower hit with a few minutes to go, catching out Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo, with the Red Bull getting stuck deep in the gravel.
Nico Hulkenberg was one of the few drivers to get a lap in on the softs and ended up fourth quickest ahead of Max Verstappen, who spun his Toro Rosso at Turn 5 in the damp conditions.
Nico Rosberg did not manage to set a lap time when the track was at its driest, but did get some soft tyre running in late on to finish sixth.
McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were tasked with working to complete the team’s final configuration and set-up work as it had failed to complete its testing programme.
The duo completed 27 laps between them to finish seventh and eighth quickest respectively.
Force India’s Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen in the Renault completed the top 10.
Newcomer Haas limited its running given the conditions and its lack of spare parts with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez completing just 14 laps between them.
Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz Jr were the only drivers not to set a time.
Vettel completed eight installation laps while Sainz managed just three after spending most of the session in the Toro Rosso garage having stopped at the pitlane entry early on.
|2||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m30.146s||0.421s||14|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m30.875s||1.150s||13|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.325s||1.600s||8|
|5||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m31.720s||1.995s||14|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.370s||3.645s||6|
|22||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||–||–||3|