Hamilton leads soggy first session of 2016 | Australian GP FP1 Report

The first official Formula 1 session of the 2016 Season got underway at 12:30 local time in Melbourne on Friday, ending fifteen weeks without the fastest sport on earth.

Sebastian Vettel was first out on track as the Albert Park Street Circuit took the honours of first round of the season – twenty years on from its first slot on the calendar.

Damp conditions saw a very stop/start session, punctuated by both drizzly and bright spells.

A particularly wet period caught out Valtteri Bottas at Turn 7, and the Finn damaged the floor of his Williams machine, sending him back to the pit lane.

Max Verstappen pushed hard throughout, even daring to fly over the sodden astrotruf on the exit of the super-fast T12 chicane, but it was a much slower corner that caused the Dutch teenager to spin; as he spun his STR10 on the exit of T7 at low speed, due to more damp run-off.

Team mate Carlos Sainz also hit trouble, when his car toured the circuit slowly and then ran out of power in the pit lane.

A third unfortunate Red Bull driver – Daniel Ricciardo – ended the session in the gravel trap at T14 as the rain fell heavier at the end of FP1, beaching his car with less than a minute to go.

Everyone kept it out of the barriers though, including the new Haas team, the re-vamped Manor team, and the returning Renault boys, clad in a new glowing gold paint scheme.

Times from FP1

1) Hamilton, Mercedes – 1.29:725 (14 Laps)
2) Kvyat, Red Bull – 1.30:146 (14 Laps)
3) Ricciardo, Red Bull – 1.30:875 (13 Laps)
4) Hulkenberg, Force India – 1.31:325 (7 Laps)
5) Verstappen, Toro Rosso – 1.31:720 (13 Laps)
6) Rosberg, Mercedes – 1.31:814 (11 Laps)
7) Alonso, McLaren – 1.33:060 (11 Laps)
8) Button, McLaren – 1.33:129 (16 Laps)
9) Perez, Force India – 1.33:370 (5 Laps)
10) Magnussen, Renault – 1.34:060 (12 Laps
11) Bottas, Williams – 1.34:550 (6 Laps)
12) Massa, Williams – 1.34:679 (6 Laps)
13) Nasr, Sauber – 1.34:796 (7 Laps)
14) Palmer, Renault – 1.35:477 (12 Laps)
15) Ericsson, Sauber – 1.37:956 (6 Laps)
16) Wehrlein, Manor – 1.40:401 (5 Laps)
17) Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1.40:754 (10 Laps)
18) Gutierrez, Haas – 1.41:780 (8 Laps)
19) Haryanto, Manor – 1.43:372 (6 Laps)
20) Grosjean, Haas – 1.43:443 (6 Laps)
21) Vettel, Ferrari – No time (8 Laps)
22) Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso – No time (3 Laps)

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A hard day’s night for Rossi | 2015 Singapore GP – Free Practice 1

It was a familiar sight in Free Practice 1 ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton setting the benchmark times.

The haze which has worried many about the feasibility of the race entirely, was nowhere near as severe as most predicted, and so the session hit no difficulties in that respect.

The long hour-and-a-half session saw most drivers opt for the harder compound soft tyres and attempt longer runs, a tyre which Pirelli think will be around 1.5 seconds slower per lap than the red-banded super soft tyres.

Red Bull have been saying for a long time that they expected the tight and twisty city state to favour their RB11, as the short straights hide the fact that their Renault power unit can’t compete with Ferrari or Mercedes. Due to the track’s low-speed nature, downforce plays a much more important role, and this plays in to the hands of Red Bull nicely, who are more well-endowed than most when it comes to Carbon Fiber.

The same could not be said for Williams, who have excelled at power circuits this year, but were miles off the pace in Monaco, failing to score a single point. Bottas managed to get up to sixth in the overall standings of FP1, but Massa was way down the order, with only Kvyat – who hit early trouble in the session – and both Marussia cars to lean on.

Maybe the leaning got too much for Marussia debutant Alexander Rossi, because with just three minutes to go in the session, he clouted the wall at Turn 18 and ripped off the right-side suspension.

That brought out the red flags, and subsequently ended the session, leaving Manor Marussia with plenty of work to do ahead of FP2.

1) N. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1’47.995 (27 Laps)
2) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1’48.314 (+0.319 (24 Laps))
3) D. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1’48.331 (+0.336 (21 Laps))
4) S. Vettel, Ferrari, 1’48.494 (+0.499 (23 Laps))
5) K. Räikkönen, Ferrari, 1’48.785 (+0.790 ((20 Laps)
6) V. Bottas, Williams, 1’49.380 (+1.385 (19 Laps))
7) M. Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1’49.466 (+1.471 (17 Laps))
8) N. Hülkenberg, Force India, 1’49.854 (+1.859 (21 Laps))
9) C. Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1’50.019 (+2.024 (28 Laps))
10) P. Maldonado, Lotus, 1’50.068 (+2.073 (21 Laps))
11) F. Alonso, McLaren, 1’50.123, (2.128 (21 Laps))
12) S. Pérez, Force India, 1’50.125, (+2.130 (23 Laps))
13) F. Nasr, Sauber, 1’50.158 (+2.163 (18 Laps))
14) R. Grosjean, Lotus, 1’50.341 (+2.346 (23 Laps))
15) J. Button, McLaren, 1’50.455 (+2.460 (21 Laps))
16) M. Ericsson, Sauber, 1’50.883 (+2.888 (21 Laps))
17) F. Massa, Williams, 1’51.035 (+3.040 (18 Laps))
18) D. Kvyat, Red Bull, 1’51.188 (+3.193 (8 Laps))
19) W. Stevens, Marussia, 1’53.903 (+5.908 (20 Laps))
20) A. Rossi, Marussia, 1’53.918 (+5.923 (18 Laps))

All times via FORIX