F1 2016 engage! Lewis Hamilton tops FP1 at the Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton tops the first free practice session of the 2016 Formula One season at a rain hit Australian Grand Prix.

Albert Park, Melbourne, a place usually bathed in sunshine was finding its Friday bathed in showers of rain as Formula One kicked off their 2016 season. But when conditions where at their best, Hamilton flowed around the streets to top the first session of the year and start 2016 as he ended 2015.

When the green light engaged, Vettel broke the silence to kick off the year on the full wet tyres. Others soon joined the German out on the circuit, with some making the early change for the intermediates as conditions slowly dried.

Early running saw installation laps being completed before the pits were the hive of activity, leaving just the Mercedes duo on the leaderboard.

Not long however passed before the dry tyres were being fitted and home-boy Daniel Ricciardo moved 6.7 seconds clear of the intermediate best on a 1:34.007.

Daniel Ricciardo’s benchmark dropping time queued the rest of the field to move onto slicks, but the weather had other plans as rain began to fall again.

With 21-minutes remaining of the session, the track had finally dried enough for the field to test the slick tyres out again, allowing for Hulkenberg to go fastest.

But as conditions reached their best, Hamilton moved into P1 – four seconds faster than Ricciardo’s earlier benchmark time. Once again however, rain began to fall and briefly stopped the flying laps.

Not for long though as Kvyat pipped into P1, jumping up the leaderboard from seventh place. His time at the top though was short lived as Hamilton followed him across the line to regain first.

Throughout the session, drivers had in most managed the variable conditions with ease until Max Verstappen became the first big victim of the year as he span his Ferrari powered Toro Rosso at turns 6 and 7. Quick reactions from the youngster allowed him to come to a halt and get back underway swiftly & with ease.

Later on in the big-brother team, Daniel Ricciardo joined the list of drivers to run wide in the wet conditions and find himself running over the gravel. Except the Australian was forced to stop as he beached his car under the chequered flag.

Pos Driver Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton 1:29.725 0
2 Daniil Kvyat 1:30.146 0.421
3 Daniel Ricciardo 1:30.875 1.15
4 Nico Hulkenberg 1:31.325 1.6
5 Max Verstappen 1:31.720 1.995
6 Nico Rosberg 1:31.814 2.089
7 Fernando Alonso 1:33.060 3.335
8 Jenson Button 1:33.129 3.404
9 Sergio Perez 1:33.370 3.645
10 Kevin Magnussen 1:34.060 4.335
11 Valtteri Bottas 1:34.550 4.825
12 Felipe Massa 1:34.679 4.954
13 Felipe Nasr 1:34.796 5.071
14 Jolyon Palmer 1:35.477 5.752
15 Marcus Ericsson 1:37.956 8.231
16 Pascal Wehrlein 1:40.401 10.676
17 Kimi Raikkonen 1:40.754 11.029
18 Esteban Gutierrez 1:41.780 12.055
19 Rio Haryanto 1:43.372 13.647
20 Romain Grosjean 1:43.443 13.718
21 Sebastian Vettel  No time set
22 Carlos Sainz Jr.  No time set