Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first two practice sessions at the Australian Grand Prix, ahead of Sunday’s curtain-raiser in the 2017 Formula One season.

The 32-year-old, who lost out to his team-mate Nico Rosberg for the title last season, topped the standings, showing that his team is once again the one to beat.

As the German retired after his success, Hamilton’s new partner is Valtteri Bottas, and the Finn was 0.583 seconds behind in the first practice at Albert Park in Melbourne.

Sebastian Vettel was second in the next session, however, splitting the two Mercedes cars as he looks for his first world championship since moving from Red Bull to Ferrari.

Regardless, without Rosberg in his way, Hamilton will be confident of a strong start Down Under and, ultimately, claiming his fourth Drivers’ Championship.