It was straight back to business for Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton during the first free practice sessions of the 2017 season, at the Albert Park circuit in Australia on Friday, where the Brit resumed almost exactly where he had left off at the end of 2016, leading the field by almost half a second.
During the morning’s FP1 session, the silver arrows drivers were the only ones to test out the ultra-soft tyre, so it was difficult to gauge at that stage, where they stood in respect of the other teams.
Sure enough however, in FP2, a familiar pattern began to emerge and Hamilton rose to the top of the leader board by a comfortable margin, from the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, to round off a positive first day for the Brit.
“It’s great to be back in Australia and I’m super happy to be back in the car – particularly after a first day like that. It was 99 per cent perfect.
“After struggling with some issues in Barcelona, we didn’t know if we’d have the same thing here. What’s really encouraging is that we’ve arrived at the track just a week later and the car is exactly where it should be.
“It’s feeling great out there and the guys have done a fantastic job. We’ve shown good form so far on both the long and short runs and we got every lap done that we wanted to. The tyres performed really well today too.
“Coming into today, we really didn’t know where we’d be. We knew from FP1 that the Ferrari’s weren’t at their maximum. Of course, in FP2 all of a sudden they were quick.
“We’ll see tomorrow how it really stands. I feel very much at home in Melbourne. There’s always a great buzz here and a lot of support.
“I’m just really happy to see everyone and receive their positive energy. I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to win this race.”