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Mercedes rule the roost as practice in Australia begins // Hamilton leads as Palmer crashes out

Published by Christine Blachford

Mercedes rule the roost as practice in Australia begins
Credit: Daimler AG
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We were all expecting the Mercedes team to continue their domination but Hamilton’s half a second head start over his teammate during FP1 and FP2 was still something of a surprise. Red Bull were best of the rest in the morning session, whilst Ferrari were holding back and letting the rest of the field clean up the dirty track.

Fernando Alonso had a sensible session and finished 14th but Stoffel Vandoorne suffered a water leak so he and his McLaren were last on the morning timesheets. The afternoon was better for the pair of them, whilst others struggled instead. Felipe Massa stopped out on track with an electrical issue on his Williams, whilst Marcus Ericsson beached his Sauber in the gravel. Max Verstappen visited the gravel too and kept it going, but caused damage to the floor of his Red Bull.

Meanwhile, Jolyon Palmer gave his Renault mechanics some work to do by ending his session in the wall, and damaging both the front and the rear of the car. And in the second session, it was Hamilton on top again, with Vettel splitting the two Mercedes drivers.