Nico Rosberg starts the season on top after being the fastest man in FP1 for the Australian Grand Prix 2015.
It was the first official session of the year, and for anyone watching in England it was an early start with a 1:30am green light. But when the engines roared into action, Formula One was back and by the end of the session Rosberg was sitting in P1 with a table topping time of 1:29:557.
At the start of the session the usual flow of install laps were carried out up and down the grid. Yet there were no signs of Marussia in the opening practice session as the team worked on early teething issues with their untested cars. Sauber also sat out the opening practice session as the ongoing court battle with Giedo van der Garde rages on.
Eventually the install laps settled and the Silver Arrows got going by posting the first timed laps with both drivers. With Nico Rosberg taking the early advantage with a 1:31:319, 2.4 seconds faster than last year’s championship winner, Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg went on to hold the lead across the 1 hour 30 minute session, despite Hamilton improving on his personal best to reduce the deficit to 0.029 seconds by the end of the session.
The Silver Arrows were followed up on the time sheets by Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. A good session for the team saw the Finn top the speed trap for sectors one, along with team-mate Felipe Massa topping the speed traps in the second and final sectors.
Max Verstappen may be the youngest driver in Formula One’s history, but he was pushing the Toro Rosso throughout the session. Including a moment where he found himself too deep into turn one but managed to keep control of his car. Unlike Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who found himself grazing the grass on the entry to turn 15, before his RB11 went for a spin and claim the drivability was “really tricky” over the team radio.
All in all it was an impressive start for Sainz and Verstappen with both completing the most laps on track. As well as keeping a strong position on the time sheets.
Vettel’s official Ferrari debut saw the German end the session as the lead Ferrari, slotting in between the two Toro Rosso’s for fifth whilst his new team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, lingered down in eight behind Massa.
Meanwhile Vettel’s ex-team, Red Bull, completed less laps than Ferrari and also found themselves further down the time sheets with only Force India, McLaren, Grosjean and the non-running Sauber & Marussia behind.
Maldonado finished the session in ninth place and managed to complete 22 laps. Whereas his team-mate Romain Grosjean failed to post a time.
Once the chequered flag fell over Albert Park, the drivers remained on track briefly for a test of the new Virtual Safety Car feature (VSC) which has been introduced for this season in light of Jules Bianchi’s crash at the 2014 Japanese GP.
- Rosberg (1:29:557 – 20 laps)