And so it begins, the 2015 Formula One season has finally got underway with the opening day of practice in Australia and it seems the Mercedes F1 team start the season as they ended the last, in merciless form.
And yet again Nico Rosberg showed who’s the daddy when it comes to single lap qualifying speed by yet again eclipsing team mate Lewis Hamilton by the narrowest of margins, 0.1 seconds to exact as practice session 2 concluded.
How faster still Mercedes can go is the real question, free practice is usually a procedural process, teams try to perfect the balance and overall setup of the car. But Mercedes were in ominous form both in low fuel and high fuel runs.
What we do know is that the Mercedes duo were 0.751 seconds ahead of their nearest challenger Sebastian Vettel who put in a solid performance for Ferrari. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen was a further 0.4 seconds down on Vettel’s time nestled safely in fourth place.
The Williams team didn’t get off to a good start, Felipe Massa’s new Mercedes powerplant suffered a water leak which meant the Brazilian failed to set a time.
Team mate Valtteri Bottas managed to set a time good enough to place him in 5th place albeit nearly 2 seconds off the pace.
Daniel Ricciardo was also another victim of reliability issues, Red Bull were forced to change the Renault engine and Ricciardo failed to set a time in free practice 2.
McLaren got off to a bad start after Kevin Magnussen crashed after 4 laps. The Dane has had little preparation to get used to the McLaren-Honda having only completed 21 laps during pre-season testing and was drafted in to replace Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard was forced to miss the first race of the season.
Of the top teams on the grid McLaren put in the fewest laps during winter testing and suffered the most reliability issues. Jenson Button did manage trouble free practice sessions but was nearly 4 seconds off the pace.
Australian Grand Prix Practice 2 Times