Hamilton sets pace in Australian practise

Lewis Hamilton in his Brackley-based Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton in his Brackley-based Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg for a Mercedes one-two in second practise ahead of the 2014 season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

The duo go into Sunday’s race as favourites for the world title following the Brackley team’s impressive pre-season form – and their performance this morning further cemented that view.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third in second practise while Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest in his Milton Keynes-based Red Bull, despite the team’s struggles in pre-season testing.

Hamilton was 0.157secs clear of Rosberg but the Briton did have earlier troubles in the first session when the car stopped with an oil sensor calibration problem on his first serious lap.

He said: “I went out a lot later than when the others did their option tyre running so the track would be faster.

“It didn’t feel like a particularly good lap. I still have a lot to improve on, a lot to find.

“P2 was good but it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re at the top of the time sheets in practice. The big thing was to just feel the car. Missing P1 was a big backwards step but I felt we recovered most of it.”

Rosberg was second and 0.35secs quicker than Alonso, who was fastest in the first practice session.

Third practise takes place tomorrow morning at 3am with qualifying three hours later and the race on Sunday at 6am.