Australian F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in both practice sessions ahead of the 2019 Australian Formula One Grand Prix on Friday. 

The Mercedes driver finished narrowly ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the first session of the new season at Albert Park, with the pair split by just 0.038 seconds.

In the second, Hamilton's closest rival was team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was 0.048 seconds behind the Englishman's time of 1:22.600.


FP1 Recap

Here's the classification from the first free practice session in Melbourne:

Formula 1 @F1

Hamilton and Vettel separated by just 0.038s 👀 Our first 90 minutes of fun in 2019 are in the book! Full classification 👇 #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/AXG8OjDvkn

Bottas was the first driver to set a time, and he led proceedings at the halfway point.

The second half of the session went less well for the Finn, as he spun in sector three and found his time beaten by Hamilton, Ferrari duo Vettel and Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

He wasn't the only one to go for a spin, as rookie Alexander Albon—in his first F1 practice session—took a trip into the barriers and ended his session prematurely:

Formula 1 @F1

A less than ideal first practice session for Alexander Albon 😬 #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/4PTHEf2MJb

Meanwhile, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg managed to complete just 11 laps, having had to spend more than an hour in the pits dealing with electrical issues following his installation lap.

Despite that, he managed to set the 10th quickest time.


FP2 Recap

Here's the classification from FP2:

Formula 1 @F1

FP2 - final classification 🧮 The top 3⃣ drivers all did 3⃣3⃣ laps 🧐 #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/AgGqfdPrVQ

Bottas once again reached the halfway stage with the quickest time, but on this occasion only his team-mate was able to go quicker in the closing period.

At Renault, this time it was Daniel Ricciardo's turn to spend some time in the pits, but he managed to complete 31 laps.

Vettel managed 35 in his Ferrari, but his complaints to his team about an unknown issue and a trip to the garage midway through the session offer some insight as to why he wasn't able to challenge Hamilton on the timesheet. 

As for Albon, after an eventful first session, he continued to struggle a little at Albert Park:

Formula 1 @F1

Albon - and sometimes Alboff 😟 F1's new drivers are still finding the limits at Albert Park 🤓 #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/ckOjWj5tBp

He'll have been relieved that he was far from the only driver to go for a spin, though, as Kimi Raikkonen and Leclerc also spent time on the grass.

While the first session hinted Ferrari could give Mercedes a close run this season, the second was a reminder that it's early days and there are issues still to resolve. 

Saturday's final practice and qualifying will give us a better idea of what to expect from the race on Sunday.