Lewis Hamilton Tops Australian Grand Prix Friday Practice Sessions

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped both Friday free practice sessions on a rain affected first day of the 2016 Formula One season.

Hamilton was 0.421 seconds faster than the rest of the grid as the first session of the day saw quite a bit of rain. The first practice started off with every driver on either the full wet orintermediate tyres on their installation laps before the sun came out 10 minutes into the session.

Every driver got on slicks with 22 minutes remaining which saw Max Verstappen, the first to venture out on the dry tyres spinning out on his installation lap.

Thankfully the track dried out enough to allow the drivers to set some flying laps and at the end of the session Hamilton was on top with a lap time of 1:29.725, to finish ahead of the Red Bull duo of Danni Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Torro Rosso's Max Verstappen rounded off the top 5 with Hamilton's major rival Nico Rosberg finishing 6th, 2.089 seconds behind his Mercedes teammate. The Ferrari's of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel ended up in 17th and 21st, with Vettel not putting up a time.

The second practice session saw even worse weather than the first as not even a single lap on slicks was completed by any of the 22 man grid.

Hamilton finished the session on top yet again as he set a lap of 1:38.841, to finish 0.467 seconds ahead of Force India's Hulkenberg and 0.645 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Unfortunately for Nico Rosberg, the German ended up crashing into the wall while accelerating through turn 7 and destroyed the new shorter nose that Mercedes were testing for the first time this season.

Story first published: Friday, March 18, 2016, 20:31 [IST]
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