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Mercedes has made a convincing start to its Formula 1 title defence as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated the first practice session of the 2015 Formula 1 season at Albert Park.

Getting out on track early on, Mercedes remained in charge for the almost the entirety of the 90min session, with Rosberg getting the edge over his 2014 F1 title winning team-mate Hamilton by 0.029secs with a best lap of 1min 29.557secs.

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More significantly, however, the pair commanded an advantage of more than a second back to third place Valtteri Bottas in the Williams as the German team gave the clearest indication yet of its pace ahead of the Australian Grand Prix opener.

A relatively quiet session that would see just 15 cars set a representative lap time, more than two seconds would cover the top ten, with Bottas comfortably ahead of rookie Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

Indeed, it was a positive - and productive - session for Toro Rosso and its two F1 newcomers, with both Sainz and Max Verstappen inside the top three at various stages before eventually settling in fourth and sixth respectively, completing more than 30 laps each.

Felipe Massa was seventh fastest, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, while Lotus' Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten, the latter suffering a spin when he dropped a wheel on the entrance to the penultimate corner.

Behind them, there is a gap back to Force India as it continues to get the relatively untested VJM08 dialled in, while McLaren-Honda were on track early with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, but they would complete just six and seven laps between them as they spent much of the session in the garage.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the pit lane, Sauber and Manor's respective issues would prevent them from venturing on track, which coupled to problems for Romain Grosjean's Lotus would leave the timing screens looking noticeably blank.

Indeed, as legal disputes continue to rage behind the scenes between Sauber and Giedo van der Garde, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr did get into their cars with the apparent intention of heading on track, only to climb out again with 30mins of the session remaining.

Manor, meanwhile, didn't venture out as it continues to update the software on its cars. Though the two machines passed scrutineering, it is still battling to get the software dialled in so as to allow it to get out on track.

FP2 takes place at 16.330 local time (5.30 GMT)

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StevoG:
thisiscalin: Championship open for third place.[\blockquote]
Such a shame that we have to put up with LH and NR the two most boring and uninteresting personalities of ANY SPORT in 2015. I won't be watching much of F1 if it pans out that the Mercs are dominant again like they were in 2014, I'd rather watch the MotoGP anyday or any other sport[\blockquote]

I'm a big MotoGP fan too but hate it when it's fans say they're not going to watch F1 again. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Go and watch the Marc Marquez show and no one race him again this year because he's that good. Just because you're not a Mercedes/NR/LH fan. Jeez