Seat belt issue hampers Ricciardo's Renault debut in Australia

F1: 2019 Australian Grand Prix Preview

Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes showed themselves to be in a league of their own in practice at the Australian Grand Prix, despite talking down their pre-season chances.

His Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas was 0.048 seconds off the time of Hamilton, who had a yawning 0.800 seconds gap to Max Verstappen in third, with Red Bull's other driver, Pierre Gasly, a further 0.042 seconds behind in fourth.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers have said they will be able to race with, and against, their team-mates - despite the new team principal of the Italian outfit suggesting they would favour Vettel over Charles Leclerc in certain situations.

Sebastian Vettel, who has won in Melbourne for the past two years, could only manage fifth, almost a second adrift of arch-rival Hamilton, while Ferrari partner Charles Leclerc struggled to ninth, straddling the kerb and spinning as he pushed hard late in the day.

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.

Ricciardo joined Renault ahead of the 2019 season, having spent five seasons with the Red Bull Racing squad, where he won seven Grands Prix, in the knowledge that he would not be challenging for wins and podiums immediately, but building the team towards that target in future seasons.

The pair were very much on the pace in the first practice session yesterday, with both drivers within eight-hundredths of a second of Lewis Hamilton's best time. There's plenty of stuff that we can improve on, but this was not a bad start.

More news: Walton -- Lonzo may not return to Lakers this year

Hamilton, whose first win of last season came in Azerbaijan in round four, said he did not feel as if he needed to grab the new campaign by the scruff of the neck.

"We didn't really get into the groove, into the rhythm, and that's quite important round here".

"It was a tricky day for us".

"If you look today at how close it is, even the mid-pack are really close, so I would say even more than ever before there's even less margin for error", said Hamilton.

British-born Thai debutant Alexander Albon had a tough day, crashing his Toro Rosso to lose his front wing and causing a brief halt in the first session before spinning off track several times in the second. He slid onto the gravel again in session two and skidded onto the grass.

In between the practice sessions, FIA President Jean Todt and Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey attended a news conference which started with a minute of silence in memory of F1 race director Charlie Whiting, who died in Melbourne early Thursday from a pulmonary embolism.

Related News:



Most liked

2 rockets fired on Israel, Gaza braces for reprisal
The rocket barrage triggered air raid sirens across the city, which is Israel's densely populated commercial and cultural capital. The apparent rocket fire came in response to Israeli airstrikes, launched after an early rocket attack on Tel Aviv .

Beto O'Rourke says he's running for president in 2020
The 46-year-old announced his 2020 Democratic primary bid Thursday with an online post. This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us.

Gambino 'mob boss' shot dead outside NY home
The shooting outside Cali's home, the source said, suggests the killing was meant to send an ominous message. According to local media in NY , he took the helm of the Gambino family in 2015 , replacing Domenico Cefalu.

Celebrate Pi Day with These Baltimore Pizza Specials
The healthy grocery store notes that its pies are free of hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. If you have forgotten what pi means from your days in math class, it is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

N York attorney general is investigating Trump projects: NY Times
President Donald Trump has tweeted an apparent response to a NY investigation into his business empire, saying the state and Gov. The Times' source said the subpoenas were inspired by Cohen's testimony about how Trump reported his finances.

Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman charged in United States fraud case
The parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools, authorities said. USC will "make informed, appropriate decisions once those reviews have been completed".

Governor Newsom to Halt Death Penalty; President Trump Is Not Thrilled
Nonetheless, Newsom's action is the latest indication of how California politics have changed around capital punishment. She won her party's nomination nonetheless, losing to Republican Pete Wilson in the general election later that year.

Speaker Pelosi Revokes Vice President Pence's House Office Space
Presidents have never before declared an emergency after Congress voted to deny them money for the same goal . Under a 1976 law, presidents have wide discretion in determining when a national emergency has occurred.

Pelosi Opposes ‘Divisive’ Efforts to Impeach Trump: ‘He’s Just Not Worth It’
Russian Federation has denied USA intelligence community's finding that Moscow interfered in the U.S. political arena. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has become notorious for calling for impeachment since the day Trump was elected president.

Proposed new budget would slash federal insurance subsidies
Similarly, Trump's proposals to eviscerate DOE research programs only served to underscore their popularity on Capitol Hill. Trump's number crunchers might not have been able to find it in their hearts to whittle away at military spending.

Felicity Huffman Released On $250000 Bail In College Admissions Probe
Thirty-three parents, including actor Lori Loughlin , were charged, as well as 13 coaches and associates of Singer's business. According to the report, Laughlin was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud .

Nigerians to elect highly effective state governors
Mr Tayo Oviosu Founder/CEO of Paga at the same polling unit said it was surprising that voters did not turn up for the elections. Accusations from the two main parties, accusing the other of conspiring with INEC to rig the result, have not gone away.

Beautiful Kate and Meghan steal the show at Commonwealth Day service
Cape Town - If there's one thing Meghan has learned since joining the royal family, it's avoiding nasty comments on social media. It was also in Toronto that Meghan and Harry made their first public appearance at the Invictus Games in 2017.

Steelers Turned Down This WAY Better Offer From Patriots For Antonio Brown
Given that Bell undoubtedly is eyeing a lofty contract himself, one has to wonder just how much Oakland would be willing to spend. He missed one game with an injury past year , against, coincidentally, Detroit.

Carson Wentz reacts to DeSean Jackson trade on Twitter
Reports indicate the Bucs will get back a 2019 6th round pick and the Eagles will get the Bucs' 2019 7th round pick in the deal. He averaged 18.9 yards per catch last season, despite the turmoil at the quarterback position in Tampa Bay last season.