IN PICS: Hamilton storms FP2 of Australian Grand Prix

Sport360 staff 12:30 24/03/2017

Lewis Hamilton sizzled in the opening practice sessions at the Australian Grand Prix as he sent an ominous message to his rivals for the new Formula One season on Friday.

The triple world champion bossed the field in the afternoon run to hold a half-second gap over Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel and his new Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton followed up his field-leading fastest lap of 1:24.220 in the first session with a blistering 1:23.620 around Albert Park in the late afternoon.

It was around one-tenth of a second off Vettel’s record lap in Melbourne of 1:23.529, posted for Red Bull in qualifying ahead of his 2011 race victory.

Ferrari were expected to press Hamilton and the Mercedes team after superior times in pre-season testing, but on the evidence of the opening two sessions Hamilton again looked the driver to beat in Sunday’s race.

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