MELBOURNE, March 26- Renault's Robert Kubica was fastest in opening practice Friday ahead of the weekend's Australian Grand Prix.The Polish driver clocked a fastest lap of one minute 26.927 seconds out of the 22 laps he completed on the Albert Park street circuit in fine, dry conditions.
Kubica was 0.199secs quicker than German Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (1:27.126) with reigning world champion Jenson Button third fastest in 1:27.482 in his McLaren Mercedes.
Ferrari’s Brazilian racer Felipe Massa came in fourth best in 1:27.511 ahead of Germany’s Sebastian Vettel (1:27.686) in a Red Bull-Renault.
Spanish two-time world champion Fernando Alonso clocked the sixth best lap time of 1:27.747 in his Ferrari ahead of the 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes in 1:27.793.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, making a comeback this season with Mercedes GP Petronas, came in 12th fastest in 1:28.550 in his first tilt around Albert Park this week.
Australian Mark Webber, bidding to win his home GP in his Red Bull-Renault, was 14th quickest in 1:28.683.
The red flag came out twice in the session with Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi striking trouble with his BMW-Sauber.
Kobayashi lost his front wing after hitting a kerb and then the wing appeared to come loose and break away in his second stint in practice.
The drivers will have a second practice session later Friday ahead of Sunday’s Australian GP.