Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton leads both Ferrari's in first practice

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Lewis Hamilton led the two Ferrari's as less than a tenth covered the top three in first practice at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton would post a 1m23.599s on his first flying lap using the soft C4 tyres with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc just falling shy of the world champion's time on the same compound.

Max Verstappen would also look competitive for Red Bull in fourth, less than two-tenths behind the Mercedes, setting the field up nicely for the rest of the weekend.

Valtteri Bottas set the early pace in the first 40-minute window, as Hamilton struggled with a flat-spot he picked up at Turn 3, but the Finn would slip back to fifth by the end, a quarter of a second back.

He also survived a late scare at Turn 15 as he lost the car on the grass under braking and very narrowly avoided hitting the barrier. 

A clear difference between the top three teams and the rest remained as Kimi Raikkonen was a second behind his fellow countryman in sixth for Alfa Romeo.

Daniil Kvyat made a strong start for Toro Rosso in seventh, with Pierre Gasly down in eighth in his first session for Red Bull and over a second slower than his teammate.

Kevin Magnussen was ninth for Haas with Nico Hulkenberg emerging late on in P10 for Renault, having missed almost all of the session due to an electrical issue.

In a largely subdued first 90 minutes, there was only one incident of note as Alexander Albon slid into the wall at Turn 2.

It appeared the Formula 2 graduate was stuck in the middle of the track leading to the red flag being thrown but he was soon able to get going and returning to the pits with seemingly just a broken front wing.

The competitiveness of the midfield was also hinted at with 1.1 seconds covering Raikkonen in sixth to Lando Norris in 18th in the McLaren.

His teammate Carlos Sainz ran 14th just ahead of the two Racing Point cars of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, both of whom were testing new upgrades for this weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo was a lowly 17th for Renault in his first session, but his best time was compromised by traffic through Turn 14 on his best lap.

Williams, however, are well off the pace Robert Kubica two seconds off the rest of the field in 19th and George Russell a further eight-tenths back in 20th having stopped at the end of the pit-lane. 

Full standings can be seen below:

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