Mercedes sets early pace at Australian Grand Prix practice

MELBOURNE, AustraliaMercedes sent an early signal that it could again be the team to beat in Formula One this season, setting the swiftest times in the first practice session at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday.

On a bright, clear day, defending world champion Lewis Hamilton completed the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile) Albert Park circuit in 1 minute, 24.026 seconds, a full half-second ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in second.

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