Hamilton And Bottas Lead The Way On Friday As Raikkonen Stars

CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - OCTOBER 20: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ during the United States GP at Circuit of the Americas on October 20, 2018 in Circuit of the Americas, United States of America. (Photo by Steven Tee / LAT Images)
 CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - OCTOBER 20: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ during the United States GP at Circuit of the Americas on October 20, 2018 in Circuit of the Americas, United States of America. (Photo by Steven Tee / LAT Images)

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton kicked off his title defence in style on Friday in Melbourne’s Albert Park as he led the way in both practice sessions.

The four time world champion set a fastest time of 01:22.600s ending the day just ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly had a great afternoon session as they ended up best of the rest behind Mercedes in third and fourth place respectively.

Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest for Scuderia Ferrari while Kimi Raikkonen was arguably the star of the session showing that his pace this morning wasn’t just a flash in the pan as the Iceman ended the day in sixth for Alfa Romeo Racing team.

The Renault F1 Team pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were seventh and eighth just ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc while Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten for the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team.

On his first official day back in the office, Daniil Kvyat was eleventh for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

The Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen was 12th fastest just ahead SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team’s Lance Stroll.

McLaren Renault’s Carlos Sainz was 14th fastest just ahead of the Alfa Romeo Racing team’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team’s Sergio Checo Perez was 16th just ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon and McLaren Renault’s Lando Norris. Rokit Williams Racing’s George Russell and Robert Kubica rounded out the order.

Final practice takes place on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying.

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