Lewis Hamilton: Australian Grand Prix Practice Round '99 Percent Perfect'

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, March 23. Hamilton was fastest in practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. Mark Thompson/Getty

Lewis Hamilton has described his electric start to practice at the Australian Grand Prix as "99 percent perfect" ahead of Sunday's first race of the season.

The Mercedes driver finished runner-up to teammate and last year's world champion Nico Rosberg, now retired, and begins the new season as favorite.

In Thursday's practice session, Hamilton recorded the fastest time in Melbourne by more than half a second, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel second quickest.

"It is a wonderful feeling coming into a new era of Formula One to have a car that is so strong and I'm super happy to be back, particularly after a first day like that," Hamilton said, as quoted by Press Association. "It was 99 percent perfect."

Read More: Newsweek 's Exclusive Interview With Red Bull's Christian Horner

Hamilton's new teammate Valtteri Bottas, Rosberg's replacement, finished behind Vettel in practice ahead of his first race for the German team.

Ferrari's other driver Kimi Raikkonen was fourth and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished behind him. Qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix begins on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton: Australian Grand Prix Practice Round '99 Percent Perfect' | Sports