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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. Read More...

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty's future vision for the sport. Read More...

Mercedes sets early pace at Australian Grand Prix practice

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Mercedes 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. Read More...

Hamilton: Australian GP could be start of competitive season

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One driver's title in three of the last four years, but the Mercedes driver said Thursday on the eve of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix that he believes this year could be one of the most competitive yet in the sport.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who pushed the British driver hard last season, performed well in testing a few weeks ago in Spain, along with teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Read More...

Neurosurgeon answers questions relating to brain injuries

PARIS (AP) More than four years after a ski accident caused him a near-fatal brain injury, little is known about Michael Schumacher's current condition. Updates on his health have been extremely scarce ever since he left hospital in September 2014 to be cared for privately at his Swiss home on the shores of Lake Geneva. Details of his specific condition and the treatment he received have been kept strictly private. The last public statement 16 months ago clarified nothing further would be said.

Colin Shieff is a retired neurosurgeon from Britain's National Health Service and a trustee of Headway, the national brain injury charity. Although he has never treated Schumacher, or spoken with doctors who've treated Schumacher over the years, he has dealt with similar cases both at immediate critical-care level and further down the line in terms of long-term treatment. Read More...

As F1 season begins, Schumacher is still fighting far away

As Formula One drivers prepare for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix next weekend, Michael Schumacher continues a very different fight far away.

There remains huge respect for the seven-time F1 champion who, more than four years after a near-fatal brain injury in a skiing accident, is still being cared for at home in the quiet Swiss town of Gland on the shores of Lake Geneva. He's been treated there since September 2014. The thick forest surrounding his castle-like home provides sanctuary from fan and media intrusion with high surrounding walls. Read More...

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