Friday, March 18, 2016


The first practice session of the new Formula 1 season didn’t produce many answers here at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit. Yesterday’s weather forecast proved to be accurate and the day dawned with overcast skies, rain showers and strong winds. Therefore the Scuderia Ferrari drivers took no risks out on track, sticking to checking systems after each run. Kimi Raikkonen completed ten laps, ending up 17th fastest with a 1.40.754. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel did eight laps, but never set an actual time. Quickest was Lewis Hamilton who went round in 1.29.725 in the Mercedes, followed by the Red Bull duo of Daniil Kvat (1.30.146) and Daniel Ricciardo (1.30.875.)

Intermittent rain and strong gusts of wind also affected the second free practice session in Melbourne, which is hosting the first round of the season. On the semi-permanent circuit within Albert Park, the bad weather meant there wasn’t much track action, so that the Scuderia drivers settled for just doing system checks. Both men did just seven laps in one single run on intermediate tyres: Kimi used a new set to post the third fastest time in 1.39.486, while Sebastian Vettel was on old rubber, ending up eighth with a time of 1.40.761. Once again, Lewis Hamilton came out on top for Mercedes with a time of 1.38.841, ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg (1.39.308).

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today the weather conditions made it very tricky for everybody and unfortunately we couldn’t do many laps. It was a pity not to have been able to run in proper conditions, for all the spectators and for all of us, but we cannot change the weather. The car is the same we had in testing, but it was the first time with wet tires and it seems to be ok. Let’s see what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, hopefully we can get some dry running, get the car correct and go from there. Tomorrow for the first time we’ll try the new qualifying format, it will be different so we have to see how it pans out. Obviously it’s the first time and it may be a bit of a hustle for some people, hopefully we get it right.”

Sebastian Vettel: “The sun came out after practice, but earlier on it was raining every now and then which was enough to wet the track or parts of it. For sure these conditions are not ideal, but in the end what can we do? It is the same for everyone. Still, I don’t think that the day was completely lost: it was good to get at least some laps and to feel the car, but in terms of preparation for the weekend and the race there was not too much to learn.”

RAIKKONENChassis 317VETTELChassis 314
First SessionP171:40.75410 lapsP21-8 laps
Weather: air 17 °C, asphalt 18/21 °C. Rain
Second SessionP31:39.4867 lapsP81:40.7617 laps
Weather: air 17/18 °C, asphalt 18/19 °C. Rain