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Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes sets early pace at Australian Grand Prix practice

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton sent an early signal that he could again be the driver to beat in Formula One this season, setting the swiftest time in the Friday's practice sessions at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

After earlier playing down his team's chances against Ferrari and Red Bull, Hamilton set a one-lap time of 1 minute, 23.931 seconds on a bright, clear afternoon at the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile) Albert Park circuit, and showed superior long-run pace with the lowest average lap time on ultrasoft tires, as well.

Standings: 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

As of: Mar. 23
RankDriverPointsPV Rank
1Martin Truex Jr.2161
2Kyle Busch2072
3Joey Logano1973
4Brad Keselowski1834
5Ryan Blaney1815
6Denny Hamlin1766
7Kyle Larson1747
8Kevin Harvick1708
9Clint Bowyer1559
10Aric Almirola14810
11Kurt Busch14411
12Austin Dillon14112