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“Australian GP: Hamilton takes first practice blood at Melbourne”

March 24, 2017

Lewis Hamilton topped the opening practice session of the 2017 Formula One season at Albert Park.

The Mercedes driver registered a best lap of 1:24.220s on the Pirelli ultrasoft tyres to gap teammate Valtteri Bottas by over half-a-second.

Daniel Ricciardo headed a Red Bull 3-4, albeit on the slower soft tyres, with the Australian falling just shy of Bottas’ best.

Max Verstappen was four-tenths off of Ricciardo’s time, just edging the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. While only the opening practice, the gap to Hamilton marked a slightly disappointing result for the Ferrari duo, both of whom looked very speedy during pre-season testing.
Ferrari did, however, resist running through much of the session, leaving much of their rimed circulation to the final twenty minutes.

Felipe Massa took 7th in the session for Williams, while his new teenage teammate Lance Stroll recorded the 13th fastest time in his first practice. Romain Grosjean was the first driver on the track in these more aggressive 2017 cars and the French-Swiss racer secured 8th for the Haas.

Fernando Alonso was the fastest of the under pressure McLaren’s, with the former champion 14th on the sheets, while new teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was bottom of the times in what looked like an unhelpful Honda-powered machine.

Esteban Ocon (Force India) and Jolyon Palmer (Renault) missed chunks on the session due to work ongoing on their cars – the recorded 16th and 19th respectively.

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