Lewis Hamilton‘s 2019 season got off to a flying start as the reigning world champion topped the time sheets in both Friday practice sessions for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team-mate Valtteri Bottas were quick straight out of the box in Melbourne, continuing their strong form from winter testing.
The five-time world champion headed the first practice session with a lap time of 1:23.599 seconds, less than four tenths-of-a-second ahead of Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s really nice to get back out on track,” said Hamilton. “The weather is fantastic, we’ve already got quite a big crowd. I have a positive buzz from driving the car today – this is what I love doing.”
A buzzing Hamilton then lowered the benchmark in Free Practice 2 to a 1:22.600 seconds. Only his team-mate Bottas appeared to be able to match his pace, posting a time less than half-a-tenth slower while third place Max Verstappen was a full eight-tenths adrift.
Despite posting the fastest time in both sessions, Hamilton admits there’s still things that need improving, but it’s been a “positive” start to the weekend.
“The car feels like it’s in a similar place to where it was in Barcelona, which is positive coming to a different track,” said Hamilton. “We got through our programme really well, there were no issues on track.
“There’s plenty of stuff that we can improve on, but this was not a bad start. What we have to do now is really study and analyse everything, as we always do on a Friday night. But the fact is we’ve got two cars that continue to go around, none of us made a mistake and we kept the cars in one piece – that counts for a lot.”