Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes topped both Friday sessions in Australia and warned there is “plenty to improve on”.
The defending World Champion finished 0.038 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel in FP1 and 0.048 seconds clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in FP2 at Albert Park.
The general consensus from pre-season testing was Ferrari are the team to beat this season but the Silver Arrows pulled out an eight tenth gap to their nearest rivals during the second practice session.
“I have a positive buzz from driving the car today,” Hamilton told reporters in the Australia paddock.
“This is what I love doing.
“The car feels like it’s in a similar place to where it was in Barcelona, which is positive coming to a different track. We got through our programme really well, there were no issues on track.
“There’s plenty of stuff that we can improve on, but this was not a bad start.
“What we have to do now is really study and analyse everything, as we always do on a Friday night.
“But the fact is we’ve got two cars that continue to go around, none of us made a mistake and we kept the cars in one piece. That counts for a lot.”
"The flow is just… beautiful – it's how Formula 1 cars are supposed to be"@LewisHamilton topped both practice sessions on Friday
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 15, 2019
Bottas kept Hamilton in close quarters in FP2 and also felt some improvement from the car.
“The car felt better than it did in testing,” added Bottas.
“We didn’t bring a lot of new parts to the car, but we were able to optimise the package that we have.”
“But we haven’t seen the full performance from any of the other teams.
“We have an idea of how much we can improve for qualifying, but we have no idea how much performance the other teams can still bring.”
We have set up a fantasy team and league for the new season! The code to join is: a27391208c
Follow live timings and super-quick updates from Australia via the PlanetF1 race centre