MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain drives the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during practice ahead of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 18, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

World Champion Lewis Hamilton has finished top of the time sheets after the first practice session at the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Hamilton finished the session 0.421 seconds quicker than second placed Daniil Kvyat, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo finishing third, 1.15 seconds further back.

Persistent rain made conditions difficult for drivers, with most only completing a handful of laps. However, a total of 20 off the 22 drivers set a time by the end of the practice session.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz were the only drivers who failed to set a time, with their cars having technical problems.

The second practice session gets underway at 4.30 AEDT.

Full first practice session times: