MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off last season and was joined by teammate Valtteri Bottas as the Mercedes drivers posted the top times in practice Friday at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari appeared to have the faster cars in winter testing but it was Hamilton who had the quickest lap of 1 minute, 22.600 seconds in the first two official practice sessions at the Formula One season-opening race at the Albert Park circuit.

Hamilton was fastest in the opening practice, holding off Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, and went even quicker in the afternoon.

He had a narrow 0.048 cushion over Bottas, but Mercedes was 0.8 seconds clear of the rest of the field

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