Button: Everyone is about a second off Mercedes in the longer runs

Mercedes are about a second a lap quicker than everyone else already, McLaren’s Jenson Button said on Friday after rival (and former team mate) Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Australian Grand Prix practice.

Button, the 2009 Formula One Champion, was second and fifth fastest respectively in the day’s two sessions but was under no illusions about the real pecking order at the start of the season.

“We’re nowhere near the quickest,” the Briton told reporters at Albert Park. “We were two seconds off [Mercedes] in the test, we’re over a second off them in the long runs.

“I think everyone is about a second off them in the longer runs. They’re very quick,” added the Briton, a three-time winner in Melbourne and now with a new team mate in Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.