The opening round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit as teams prepared for the Australian Grand Prix Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn track were run under full sun amid comfortable temperatures.
Both drivers began FP1 on the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire before transitioning to the Purple ultrasoft. Grosjean’s quick time of 1:25.730 came on his 15th lap shod on ultrasofts. He ran 24 laps and was the seventh-fastest driver. Magnussen’s best time was a 1:27.035 on his 10th lap, also set on ultrasofts. He ran 13 laps and posted the 17th-quickest time. Both drivers dealt with the typically slick track surface in Melbourne, as it only sees racecars about once a year. This makes grip hard to come by, especially early in a race weekend.
Leading the way in FP1 was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:24.026 was .551 of a second better than the next quickest driver, his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Speeds picked up and lap times dropped in FP2. Grosjean wrapped FP2 as the sixth-quickest driver with a time of 1:24.648, which was 1.082 seconds better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the 13th of his 34 laps shod on a set of ultrasoft tires. Magnussen shaved 1.789 seconds off his FP1 time with a lap of 1:25.246 to jump to ninth fastest. His fast lap came on his 13th tour as well, also while utilizing the ultrasoft tire. He completed 30 laps.
Hamilton remained atop FP2 with a mark of 1:23.931, which was .127 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The Melbourne track record of 1:22.188, set last year by Hamilton in the final round of qualifying, remained intact.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 101 laps – 58 by Grosjean and 43 by Magnussen.