Formula 1

Hamilton tops rain-hit Albert Park FP1

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Lewis Hamilton led the way for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team in the opening free practice session of the 2016 Formula 1 season around a rain-hit Albert Park circuit on Friday.

The reigning world champion set the pace with a lap of 1m29.725s in a small window of dry running before another rain shower saw a number of drivers caught out, including Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

The session began wet after overnight rain, with a dry line appearing towards the end of the session, with the occasional rain shower preventing any meaningful running for long spells of time.

Behind Hamilton came Red Bull Racing duo Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo, 0.421s and 1.150s adrift respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg being one of only a handful of drivers to test the Soft Pirelli tyre during the session in finishing fourth for Sahara Force India.

Max Verstappen was fifth fastest for Scuderia Toro Rosso ahead of Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes, who did not get a representative lap time in when the track was at its driest, meaning the German ended 2.089s adrift of team-mate Hamilton.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button ended seventh and eighth respectively for McLaren-Honda, while the top ten was completed by the second Force India of Sergio Perez and the Renault of Kevin Magnussen.

When the rain fell late in the session, Scuderia Ferrari driver Raikkonen was caught out on slick tyres and running briefly off track, but Ricciardo ended up beached in the gravel trap, while Verstappen also suffered a half-spin.

Two drivers failed to set a time during the session; Sebastian Vettel only completed eight installation laps in the second Ferrari, while Carlos Sainz Jr was restricted to just three installation laps in the second Toro Rosso having been forced to stop at the entry to the pit lane early in the session.

Albert Park Free Practice 1 Times

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