Hamilton dominates in 2nd free practice ahead of Australian GP

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Melbourne, March 23 (IANS) Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton continued the pace he showed in the first practice session in the second session also on Friday, ahead of Formula One’s first Grand Prix of the season here.

Reigning world champion Hamilton posted the fastest time of 1:23.931, improving on his first outing by just under 0.3 seconds, as Mercedes demonstrated ominous signs that they would maintain the dominance the team has enjoyed since 2014, reports Efe.

The 20-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen showed that Red Bull might give Mercedes a run for their money, finishing just 0.127 seconds behind Hamilton.

“That’s what I call a positive start to the season. The car handled well and I’m happy with today. There is of course always room for improvement, so we keep pushing”, Verstappen said on Twitter.

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Valtteri Bottas was 0.228 seconds slower than his Mercedes teammate, third fastest overall, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

The Finnish driver was all but matched by his teammate, the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who completed the top 5.

Local hero Daniel Ricciardo was down in seventh for Red Bull, behind the impressive Romain Grosjean for Haas, while Spain’s Fernando Alonso was eighth fastest.

–IANS

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