Hamilton fastest as Rosberg crashes

Nico Rosberg

Radio 5 live’s Tom Clarkson said Hamilton “might be smiling in the garage” at Rosberg’s misfortune

Nico Rosberg crashed his Mercedes in second practice at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The bad start to his campaign was emphasised as team-mate Lewis Hamilton used the best of the damp conditions to set the pace at Albert Park.

Rosberg lost control accelerating out of Turn Six on a wet track, breaking off his front wing and had to stop on the circuit to avoid dropping debris.

The damp track meant his error was not as costly as it could have been.

Hamilton, who was also fastest in first practice, did only seven laps, none on dry tyres, as he ended the session 0.467 seconds quicker than Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who was 0.178secs ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. None of the drivers felt able to use dry-weather slick tyres.

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Shortly after Hamilton set his fastest time, more rain came down, frustrating the teams who are keen to get as much dry running as possible to prepare for the first race of the season.

The lack of running will be especially awkward for the teams on a weekend when they are faced with two significant rule changes.

The format of qualifying, which takes place at 06:00 GMT on Saturday, has changed, with the introduction of a system that will eliminate the slowest driver every 90 seconds in the second half of each of the three sessions.

And there are major restrictions on the use of team radio, with limitations on the information the teams can give to drivers.

Governing body the FIA has produced a list of 24 permitted message subjects. Anything outside that will be treated as an offence, with penalties to be decided by the race stewards.

The damp conditions mean it was still not possible to make a definitive judgement on the comparison between the cars – with all eyes on how close Ferrari are to the Mercedes team, who have dominated the sport for the last two seasons.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth quickest ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, whose lap was especially impressive for being set when conditions were wetter than those ahead of him on the timesheets.

Alonso’s team-mate Jenson Button was seventh quickest, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.

Renault’s British novice Jolyon Palmer did not set a lap time.


Daniel Ricciardo was one of the first drivers to brave the wet conditions at his home grand prix


Block party: Hamilton completed only one lap, and was fastest

Australian Grand Prix first and second practice results

Australian GP coverage details

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