Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in Friday's opening practice session for Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The three-time reigning world champion picked up where he left off last season, setting a time of 1 minute, 27.211 seconds around the Albert Park circuit, putting him ahead of the Ferrari pair of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest in his first official outing for his new team Mercedes, with Red Bull's Mark Webber fifth in front of his home fans and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen sixth.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was seventh, just 0.8 seconds off Vettel's time in a closely fought session in sunny but mild conditions.