Australian Grand Prix 2019: Will Ferrari Fail to Prance, Again?

Australian Grand Prix 2019: Will Ferrari Fail to Prance, Again?

Australian Grand Prix 2019: Will Ferrari Fail to Prance, Again?

Mercedes has controlled the practice time sheet at the Australian Grand Prix, sending a stern warning to those assuming the reigning titleholder had slipped behind Ferrari during the off-season.

After pipping Vettel with a lap of one minute 23.599 seconds in the first practice, Hamilton shaved nearly a second off that in FP2, his quickest lap clocked at 1:22.600.

Lewis Hamilton, with a 1m 22.600s, bested teammate Valtteri Bottas by just 0.048 seconds with the red-marked soft tyre, but such was the Briton and his team's superiority that even his lap on the slower medium-compound rubber would've been enough to have him lead the session.

But in the second session, when teams started to stretch their legs a little, the best Ferrari could do was fifth with Vettel, almost nine-tenths of a second behind Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen pedalled his Alfa Romeo into fifth place, while Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo also split the Ferraris, providing further credence to the sandbagging theory.

Round one of the Australian Grand Prix and 2019 Formula One World Championship starts on Sunday.

Renault will be aiming to duplicate their Melbourne form from 12 months ago, when Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz gave the team a double points finish with seventh and tenth respectively. There's plenty of stuff that we can improve on, but this was not a bad start.

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Ahead of qualifying this afternoon Wide World of Sports looks at the big issues raised by the first two practice sessions.

"It was a bit frustrating", he said after problems getting comfortable in the seat of his R.S.19 - problems he jokingly insisted were not down to him "over indulging" during the off season. Are the red cars keeping something in reserve for qualifying and the race?

"It was a tricky day for us".

"In the end we are racing for Ferrari and we will try to get Ferrari back to where we've been trying to get it back to for the past few years". "We had some consistent running in Free Practice 2 and I was certainly growing more comfortable on each run", he explained.

"If we can get that confidence and that groove back, there is a lot of lap time in that around here", he added.

Toro Rosso new boy Alexander Albon had a troubled introduction to Formula One, losing his front wing in a crash at turn two in the first practice.

FIA chief Jean Todt held a minute's silence to mark his passing in a press conference, with deputy race director Michael Masi fulfilling Whiting's duties in Melbourne.

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