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Hamilton and Rosberg dominate the early exchanges
Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg backed up the paddock talk that they will dominate the early exchanges by going quickest in the first day of free practice ahead of the Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne.
The day didn’t begin well for Hamilton as his W05 stalled on the opening lap of P1, an oil pressure alarm the cause of his frustration.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso went quickest in in the first session, finishing ahead of Jenson Button and the Williams’ of Bottas and Massa.
Nico Rosberg finished P1 in 6th between the Red Bull’s of Riccardo and Vettel.
Mercedes began to show their dominance during P2 with Hamilton going quickest followed by his team mate Rosberg, only 1 tenth of a second behind.
Fernando Alonso finished an impressive first day steering his Ferrari home third, just over half a second behind Hamilton.
The big surprise of the day was the performance of Red Bull. Horner stressed at the start of the day that they were in serious trouble however Vettel came in fourth, three quarters of a second behind the time set by Hamilton, encouraging signs for the world champion although the time gap over race distance is quite substantial.
Vettel’s team mate Riccardo completed an impressive first day with his new team coming home in 6th with Jenson Button splitting the Red Bull’s in his McLaren, Button the only driver on the medium compound tyres suggesting there is plenty more speed to come from the 2009 world champion.
Final free practice is tomorrow followed by qualifying ahead of the race on Sunday.
Rain is expected tomorrow and Sunday which will put a huge emphasis on grid position for the Mercedes as they will want to keep Alonso and Button in their wing mirrors if it is going to be a wet race.
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:31.840
2. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:32.357
3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1:32.403
4. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:32.431
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1:32.599
6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:32.604
7. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 1:32.793
8. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1:32.847
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:32.977
10. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso – Renault 1:33.446
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:29.625
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:29.782
3. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:30.132
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 1:30.381
5. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:30.510
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1:30.538
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:30.898
8. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1:30.920
9. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1:31.031
10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 1:31.054