Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks

Hamilton dominant on Friday in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: 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.

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Friday 15 March 2019, 04:29PM


Lewis Hamilton records the fastest lap time in the practice session of the Melbourne Grand Prix on Friday (Mar 15). Photo: Michael Lamonato

Lewis Hamilton records the fastest lap time in the practice session of the Melbourne Grand Prix on Friday (Mar 15). Photo: Michael Lamonato

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.

Behind the silver-clad pair was Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, but the Red Bull Racing teammates were 0.8 seconds behind the leading duo.

The team also ended the day with engine concerns after Gasly reported a lack of power from his Honda motor in the final minutes of afternoon practice.

Sebastian Vettel finished fifth for Ferrari, 0.873 seconds behind 2018 title rival Hamilton, but few believed the pace was representative given the German made an unusually small improvement between the morning and afternoon sessions, leading some to suggest the team was hiding its true pace ahead of qualifying.

Kimi Raikkonen was strong on his Alfa Romeo debut, splitting Vettel from Renault teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, the triumvirate around a second off Hamilton’s pace.

Renault endured mixed fortunes throughout the day. Hulkenberg spent more than an hour of his morning session with his car on jacks in the garage with an electronics issue, while new teammate Ricciardo lost almost 30 minutes of his afternoon to a technical problem before taking to the track, though both ended up in the mix at the head of the midfield as expected by the end of the day.

QSI International School Phuket

Charles Leclerc followed in ninth in the second Ferrari after spinning his car late in the afternoon session, and Haas driver Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.

It was a positive day for those anticipating another season of close battles in the midfield, with just a single second separating all drivers bar the leading Mercedes pair and quartet anchored to the bottom of the timesheet.

Thai driver Alex Albon had a debut to forget with Toro Rosso, leading that group of four outlying drivers at the back of the field after a scrappy two sessions, including a crash early in the day.

He spun his car into the turn-two barriers in the morning session, causing enough damage to the front and rear of his car to trigger a red flag, and though he made it to the end of the second session in one piece, it was similarly fraught, including by an off-track moment at turn 15. He ended the day in 17th place ahead of fellow rookie Lando Norris in the McLaren.

Williams duo George Russell and Robert Kubica ended the day at the very back of the field and substantially slower than the rest. Russell’s best effort was 3.8 seconds off Hamilton’s benchmark and 1.7 seconds off Norris immediately ahead of him.

Highlighting the team’s woes is that its best time of the day was almost a second slower than its best time of the same session last season despite most cars lapping more than a second quicker than they did in 2018.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Foot | 15 March 2019 - 18:39:03

How many on track passes will be made among the top five after the first 3 laps?  Passes made while pitting don't count.
In most F1 races, there are less than 3 passes - the whole race.
The cars are fast and beautiful, but, the racing is terrible.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Man charged after deadly head-on collision

Belt and Airbag would be helpful. R.I.P....(Read More)


Master water plan given green light

Nice, that 20 years '4 pillar' thing. A lot of work granted for office workers. The Third Pi...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

As long as MNRE, DLD, Wild Life Edcation Centres, thai Vets and Zoo managers think it is normal to h...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

Mr Wiesel, 1: I didn't say I have a problem. 2: You not understand that other people could still...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

Were there any blood tests done, a toxicology report should be available for all to see,a visual che...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

Sorry Mr. Kurt but i dont understand your problem because i have my own pump and dont have problems ...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

Sorry mr Wiesel. In Thailand is a lot of 'planning-talks' happening . After that it stops, i...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

Herein lies the problem. The officials that do the inspections are either paid for their favorable r...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

As if there aren't enough fast and furious drivers already on the roads in Phuket, now to glorif...(Read More)