The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team laid down an early warning sign to the rest of the field after dominating the first practice session of the season in Australia.
Nico Rosberg ended the session with the fastest time of 1m29.557s, just 0.029s clear of reigning World Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton, but the rest of the field were over one second adrift. Rosberg set his time early in the session, with Hamilton joining him at the sharp end during the second half of the ninety-minute session.
Finn Valtteri Bottas was third quickest for the Williams Martini Racing team, albeit 1.191s slower than the pace set by Rosberg.
It was a good session for the Scuderia Toro Rosso outfit, with rookie drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen finishing fourth and sixth respectively, only 0.053s apart, split only by a late flying lap from Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The second Williams of Felipe Massa was seventh quickest, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, with Pastor Maldonado an encouraging ninth for the Lotus F1 Team. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan’s team-mate Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman could not complete a competitive lap time after his car needed its floor changed.
Rounding out the top ten of the opening session was the Infiniti Red Bull Racing machine of home hero Daniel Ricciardo, but his session was affected by a hydraulics problem and a spin, meaning he only completed nine laps.
McLaren-Honda’s pre-season problems continued into first practice; Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen only completing thirteen laps between them, with the pair finishing down in fourteenth and fifteenth place.
At least they managed some laps. The Sauber F1 Team did not venture out onto the track with the impending court case going on with Giedo van der Garde, with both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr just sitting in their cars for much of the session.
Neither Manor F1 Team driver managed to get on track either, after they found the computer hard-drives they need to run the car had been wiped clean (after initially being set to be auctioned off), meaning they could not fire up the cars for Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
2015 Australian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Results
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m31.014s||32|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m31.067s||31|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m31.570s||9|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m32.073s||18|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m32.247s||22|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m32.261s||19|
|17||9||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Sauber-Ferrari||No Time||0|
|18||12||Felipe Nasr||BRZ||Sauber-Ferrari||No Time||0|
|19||28||Will Stevens||GBR||Manor-Ferrari||No Time||0|
|20||98||Roberto Merhi||ESP||Manor-Ferrari||No Time||0|