Daniel Ricciardo was off the pace in the Renault in the opening practice session at Albert Park.
Daniel Ricciardo was off the pace in the Renault in the opening practice session at Albert Park.

Ricciardo slow to settle in with Renault

DANIEL Ricciardo has endured some tough times at Albert Park in recent years and there was some cause for concern in practice one with the Aussie clocking a very disappointing result and sitting near the bottom of the standings.

No Australian has ever stood on the podium at their home grand Prix - Ricciardo came agonisingly close in 2014 and against last year.

And fans shouldn't be holding their breath for a miracle this season with the Renault looking to have more teething issues that need addressing.

Ricciardo was 2 sec .035 behind Hamilton who topped the time sheets in the early session on Friday but, moreover, he was seven places behind his teammate Nico Hulkenberg who finished 10th +1.416.

Hamilton was 0.038 faster than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who is aiming for a third consecutive victory at the Australian GP.

Vettel's new teammate Charles Leclerc was 0.074 back in third place, ahead of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Hamilton and Vettel finished first and second in the drivers' championship last season, with Hamilton dominating the second half of the season and finishing with 11 victories from 21 GP events.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas posted the first time of the season, completing an early lap of the Albert Park circuit in 1:26.454. He improved his pace to 1:23.866 to finish the session with the fifth-fastest time.

News Corp Australia

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