FP1: Merc back up at the front

Mercedes picked up where they left off in November last year as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton began the new season with a 1-2 in FP1 in Melbourne.

Having dominated the timesheets in the final pre-season test, many expected that Mercedes would once again have it all their own way at the start of this Championship. And that's exactly what happened in Melbourne.

As the sun beat down on the Albert Park circuit, Rosberg posted a 1:29.557 in his W06 to edge Hamilton by 0.029s.

The duo, who claimed the double in the 2014 Championship, were a full second up on their nearest challenger, which was Valtteri Bottas.

The Williams racer's best time, a 1:30.748, was 1.191s off the pace.

Carlos Sainz Jr won the battle of the Toro Rosso rookies as he narrowly edged his team-mate Max Verstappen.

Although all eyes are on Verstappen as he makes history as the youngest driver to ever contest a Formula 1 grand prix, it was Sainz Jr who grabbed the early hours.

But with a 1:31.014 compared to a 1:31.067 it promises to be a thrilling battle between the two rookies as the season unfolds.

Sebastian Vettel in his first race for Ferrari separated the two Toro Rosso drivers as he finished fifth while Felipe Massa was seventh quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Meanwhile, there was an early end to the session for McLaren-Honda as the team called it quits with 30 minutes still on the clock in order to "check over a small mechanical issue with a power-unit component."

Jenson Button and Keving Magnussen were 14th and 15th quickest, 4.9s and 5.2s off the pace respectively. They managed just 13 laps between them.

That, though, was at least more than Sauber or Manor GP completed.

Neither team put in even a single lap as Sauber were reportedly not permitted to run their cars in light of more court action brought on by Giedo van der Garde while Manor GP were still working on their cars.

Times
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:29.557 20 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.586 0.029 20 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:30.748 1.191 17 laps
4 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:31.014 1.457 27 laps
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.029 1.472 13 laps
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.067 1.510 27 laps
7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:31.188 1.631 13 laps
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:31.310 1.753 14 laps
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:31.451 1.894 16 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:31.570 2.013 9 laps
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:32.073 2.516 13 laps
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1:32.247 2.690 17 laps
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:32.261 2.704 15 laps
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.542 4.985 6 laps
15 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.785 5.228 7 laps
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 2:17.782 48.225 3 laps
17 Will Stevens Manor No time
18 Roberto Merhi Manor No time
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber No time
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber No time

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