Hamilton Leads Mercedes One-Two as 2014 season gets underway in Melbourne
Posted By:   |  14 Mar 2014   |  9:24 am GMT  |  431 comments

As 2014 Formula One got down to business in Melbourne today, Lewis Hamilton bounced back from an on-track stoppage in the first session to set the fastest time of the day in Free Practice Two and lead a Mercedes one-two ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso completing the top three.

With new regulations causing reliability issues during pre-season testing – for some more than others – it seems that the final two weeks of preparation have allowed for an improvement in durability, particularly for Red Bull Racing, who set the fourth- and sixth-fastest times in the afternoon with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo respectively. The Milton Keynes squad enjoyed a trouble-free day. Vetted completed 41 laps this afternoon, more than any other car managed in a single session.

At Mercedes, a sensor issue caused Hamilton to stop on his out-lap in FP1. The Briton was then forced to make a long trip back to the paddock where the was rather comically stopped from entering the paddock by a security guard, who presumably upbraided the 2008 champion for not having the correct – Hamilton’s race suit and helmet not being clue enough. The brief halt there didn’t do much for his mood following his on-track stoppage.

Things brightened considerably in FP2 and Mercedes quickly established themselves as the pacesetters on both the medium and soft tyre. Rosberg held the top spot in the first half of the session, the German becoming the first to break the 90-second barrier and in the process establishing a 0.350s lead over Alonso.

Hamilton completed a handful of laps on the medium tyre before a soft tyre run took him to the top of the times, 0.157s clear of Rosberg. He then turned his attentions to a long run on the soft tyre.

“It really was a day of two halves today, ” said the 29 year old. “While it was disappointing to not get any track time this morning, these little hiccups are going to happen with the new cars and we’ll have to get used to that. It felt like I was on the back foot from there but then we got up to pace quite quickly in P2 and found the balance relatively fast. I feel quite comfortable in the car so overall it’s a positive start.”

The Mercedes also had the best race pace, Hamilton doing a 15 lap run with times in the mid 1m 33s and low 1m34s. In comparison the Red Bull did a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, Ferrari a 15 lap run in the mid 1m 34s, McLaren high 1m34s and low 1m35s, Williams in the low 1m 35s. It looks like Mercedes has a healthy advantage in race pace.

For Alonso, too, it was a decent outing. After setting the pace in FP1 he was the best of the rest this afternoon, 0.5s adrift of Hamilton’s time. The sister Ferrari F14 T of Kimi Raikkonen ended the day in seventh place, overcoming an ERS issue in the morning session to complete over thirty laps and have his blushes spared as a close shave with a wall on the entry to Turn 11 did not punish the Finn.

Sandwiched between the Red Bull pairing was the McLaren of Jenson Button, the three-time Australian Grand Prix winner ending the day 0.9s slower than Hamilton after taking second place in FP1. Interestingly he was the only driver to not run the soft tyre, maintaining a 0.5s buffer over team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who did.

Magnussen ended his first competitive day in Formula One in ninth place, supported either side by Valtteri Bottas in eighth and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10. Magnussen was a shade slower than Button over the 15 lap long run, but that’s to be expected for a driver on his first run at Albert Park compared to a three time winner here. Magnussen’s consistency was again impressive.

The woes suffered by Lotus in pre-season testing showed no signs of abating today, with Romain Grosjean failing to complete a lap in FP1, while Pastor Maldonado managed just two. In the late afternoon running Grosjean got 12 laps under his belt before a suspected brake issue pitched the Frenchman into the gravel, Maldonado failed to complete a lap however.

Another Renault team, Caterham, had a difficult day, the Leafield squad completing a combined three timed laps across the three hours of testing. Kamui Kobayashi was sidelined all day with a fuel system problem and Marcus Ericsson’s running was halted by an electrical issue. However the fourth Renault team, Toro Rosso, covered plenty of laps.

Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Free Practice
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.381s +0.756s 41
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1m30.510s +0.885s 33
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m30.538s +0.913s 38
7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m30.920s +1.295s 38
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m31.031s +1.406s 34
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m31.054s +1.429s 33
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m31.060s +1.435s 35
12. Felipe Massa Williams 1m31.119s +1.494s 31
13. Sergio Perez Force India 1m31.283s +1.658s 36
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m32.355s +2.730s 36
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m32.468s +2.843s 26
16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m32.495s +2.870s 36
17. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m33.486s +3.861s 29
18. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m33.646s +4.021s 12
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m34.757s +5.132s 29
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1
21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

Featured News in mercedes
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

The sound of the cars is appropriate, F1 has to have all the noises of gear change of tyre squeaking of the drivers attention to detail of driving of wet weather non assistance and of purely making these F1 drivers earn their money and to give the F1 public the excitement of wheel to wheel racing AND NOT a one out team and driver that is always running away with each race which is so boring be it in F1 or motogp. GO DR give them the AUSSIE RAIFE!!!


The FIA have ruined F1..the cars sound awful and are so quiet they look slow..the best sound all day was David Coultard in the 2011 Red Bull..

As for no changed gear vratios or diffs..I thought F1 was the pinnacle of motor sport..its lost me after 50 years of following an attending over 40 GP’s the spectacle of yesterday is the worst.

David in Sydney

The motors sound like nothing higher RPM and fuel supply won’t fix.

The motors actually feature real world tech – turbos, ERS and hybrid power – which is amazing relevant and quite unlike V10s or V8s.

Imagine a 1litre engine slurping 4 litres/100km delivering 110kw/220Nm.


I told you guys you cannot right off Renault…… What, you’ve never read me?

Qualifying should be fascinating.

Well my other prediction was the dawn of the Vettel-Hamilton rivalry.

Watch them go this weekend.

The cars look great too – the sound …. It’ll take time, but once we aclamatise the shrill of the v8 will seem ridiculous


With all the pooh-poohing of the new technologies this year and how they were going to take the driver out of the winning equation – I saw the opposite happening during Friday practice. These are very skittish cars with less down force and loads of unforgiving torque. Only the best are going to be able to handle them. To borrow a line from Crazy Horse – Great drivers to the front! Back markers to the rear! Kya-hey!


Actually, the term should be Hoka-hey. My apologies to the great one.

Tornillo Amarillo

New season, new engines, but the same blog format… No changes here, and you promised them James, LOL!

Tornillo Amarillo

Interactive displays, 3D, girls, “Likes” and “Dislikes” in comments, different colors, “Best comment” note…


Red Bull look really strong….oh dear


Does anybody have An idea about the long run Pace of Alonso? Read Somewhere that even Vettel’s Pace was better.


That’s what the data in FP2 showed, yes. Rosberg had the best long run times, followed by Vettel and Bottas. Which doesn’t mean a great deal at this stage.


Allan, you should start doing the “Form Guide” regular section before the races, it was a great read, plus an invaluable resource for my Fantasy F1 battles 🙂


His name is James. Allen is the surname. Nothing against you, but I just can’t stand people who don’t take two seconds to write someone’s name correctly.


I’ve been doing it here for three years!!


Am hoping more from the Williams.

As for the RBR, based on last years time differences during Free Practice, the car that was 7/10th behind the pace setting Red Bull was the Lotus driven by Grosjean.

However, the Lotus driven by Kimi at only 4/10ths slower and Alonso’s Ferrari which was 8/10th slower produced a podium result that saw both these cars came in ahead of the pace setting RB on race day.

Nevertheless, at the time (after Australia FP) the RB was described as ‘ominous’.

Using these comparative differences in speed around the same circuit, what does that make the Mercedes?


Especially since the Mercedes also demonstrated the best race pace!


Loved watching the drivers earn their money. The cars were really moving around out there. BUT, i wish the sound of the engines was louder. I’m disappointed about this as the sound of the engines has always been part of the attraction for F1 (at least for me). Having said that, it was exciting watching these cars out there. Maybe they can increase the RPMs from 15,000.

kenneth chapman

@bayan….whilst max RPM is 15000 none the cars yesterday got even close to that number. from an unconfirmed report williams/redbull approx 11000 RPM and the others max out at an average of 12000/12500 RPM.

from charts produced at an F1 tech site last year it was said that maximum torque is delivered at 10500RPM and that any rise in RPM will only achieve a greater fuel use for no other benefit.

the cars may sound a bit better if they could actually run at 15000RPM but i do doubt that you will get to hear it.


Great to see RBR looking strong, I don’t see how watching LH cruise to the title would be any better than watching SV do it. Let’s hope for for at least two competitive cars, RBR are great at car development as for a lot of SVs titles he hasn’t turned up on day one with the fastest car so merc need to make hay!!


I’m not one to shoot of at the mouth at the first sign of change. I always give the individual, organization, etc. the benefit of the doubt.

But man, these things sound horrible, look horrible, sound slow and look slow. Yes, we will all adjust over time but the nose issues need to be addressed for 2015. They look even worse in motion than they did in still photos.

As for the engines, excuse me, “power units”. Well… let’s just say the racing had better be good. Really good.


Cautiously Optimisitc


if you are watching on tv its hard to notice the engine sound over all the claptrap being spoken about ‘rain is due in 30 mins etc etc’ . so not a problem really.


Interesting that the difference in time is not that great for the whole field. I expected bigger gaps between the fastest and the slowest.



Do you have any ideas about the relative fuel consumption on the long runs.

Fuel economy especially at Albert Park is an issue. Also, to produce more power you need more fuel. Who seems to have the upper hand in over all efficiency- speed and fuel consumption?

David in Sydney

You’ll be able to estimate fuel economy based on how slow race pace is – poorer economy will mean slower race lap times – out right pace will be seen in quali and I’m sure you’ll see higher RPMs in Q2 and Q3 and therefore louder engines.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

“Domenicali accepts that Ferrari is not the quickest team at the moment, but feels there are plenty of possibilities for the team to recover over the next few races”

JESUS!!! How many times we heard the same BS over the last four years???



James, your opinion please

Marussia managed a 1:36.8 in the final Bahrain test, which was .7 shy of their fastest time in Bahrain last year. However, so far they have only managed a 1:34.4 in Oz, when last year their fastest time was 1:29.6. That’s nearly 5 seconds difference!

Do you believe they have a lot more to come or have we seen the best of them so far?


James am a bit a concerned Raikkonen will not be in the Top 6 in Quali or the race ( which was my minimum expectation this weekend and that he will get thrashed by Alonso this weekend. Any ray of hope James?


With F1 turned onto efficiency now, what is the point of Formula E? When you think of it, it may be a less efficient concept when you consider they’ll have to use more than one car to finish a race.

I truly hope the engine’s are released from aural purgatory somehow. F1 gives me the willies now – spooky ghost of it’s former self!


I’ve heard more noise in the lorry lane on the M1 than I heard from these so-called racing cars. Vijay is correct, this is not Formula One. Fans come out to the track to hear the scream of the engines, to see the drivers drive, not sit on their butts in the garage like Grosjean. Add in the talk of several teams foregoing FP3 and the spectacle becomes a debacle. Nursing the cars for fear of overheating, sensor troubles, electrical damage, fuel concerns? Whatever happened to flat-out racing like Clark and Hill, Lauda and Hunt, Mansell and Senna? I’m sure Bernie won’t be offering ticket refunds if half the cars are unable to participate in free practice. And shame on Jean Todt – if the best auto engineers in the world can’t get these cars to run, how in the world could any of this technology be transferred to the masses?

David in Sydney

Someone has pointed out that 2014 F1 sounds a lot like 2013 LMP1.

I fear the days of hearing V10 engines guzzling as much fuel as they car are gone – perhaps F1 legend days at local tracks will become vastly more popular in the future?

Or perhaps my 5yo will think Formula E of the future sounds just fine?

Andrew Halliday

Couldn’t make it to Australia but I’ll be at 3 or 4 races this year. At first I wasn’t too concerned about how the cars would sound, but having watched both sessions on TV this morning I’m a little disappointed at the lack of noise.


I think there will be some real traction for a breakaway series this year.

David in Sydney

GP2 chassis with V10 engines built to last a season. I’d like to see that.


We’re not there, yet!

A team that can make the apparent improvement from the RB experience to Bahrain to the RB experience in Melbourne, in two weeks! Is a team that can take a similar step between Friday and a much changed set of race conditions Sunday!

Vettel definitely has the steepest trajectory from the start of pre-season testing; the experienced pundits have been keeping a wary eye on RB, and we see why, now.

I personally would have no problem seeing them win again, and it would not overly surprise me.

On sandbagging: Yes, it becomes more and more prevalent. Yes, Red Bull are masters of it. But it would be extreme for them to forgo so much pre-season testing for the sake of ‘sand-bagging’ and I guess it is past the line for believability.

That being said, it is totally believable that they have had serious challenges that they are well on the way to resolving or have developed work-arounds to enable the continued development of the car to get it to where they want it.

In considering potential race winners, anyone counting out Vettel now, has just not been paying attention over the longer term, say five years.

On Hamilton, over-doted upon, and benefitting, in the Brit-o-centric media, (sometimes) by favourable bias, is gaining consensus in the media that he will have the upper leg on Nico: while it is a huge factor, that Hamilton has proven that ‘he has what it takes’ to be a world champion, the comparatives over a long association, and in similar equipment suggests very, very close in terms of performance; it could definitely go down to which one got a pea placed underneath their hundred mattresses, the night before the race.

Alonso, as ever, garners a headline.

I’m hoping the Raikonnen is sticking with the program, and will work steadily, with the now trademark superlative (but clean) passes to gain the chequered flag.

Anything could happen!

Bring it on!


Yes with regards to Redbull I agree. They were not sand bagging. It was Renault fixing most of the issues and now cleared RB into running in Full Power.

I gather they were not running anywhere close to the edge on Engine power in Bahrain. They came to Melbourne after getting the thumbs up from Renault and had their fingers crossed. And with 2 good sessions they are now breathing a well deserved sigh of relief. They are not the class of the field but yeah they can work on it from here. I am no Redbull fan, but you tend to appreciate the job this team is doing. It is good to see a team improve so much. Hoping it stays this way into day 2.

Kimi is gonna be considerably slower than Alonso in Quali but is gonna be a little bit better in the RACE and would count on some Safety Cars to mount a comeback drive I believe.


RB have an awesome car. Losing out so much on their PU and just less than a second behind – awesome. The rest must already be scratching their heads as to RB performance once racing in Europe starts.

Alexander Supertramp

Still anticipating Red Bull reliability issues..

Top Tags
SEARCH Mercedes