Ferrari came into the season-opening Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix looking to be the cars to beat, but will leave Albert Park on Friday evening with seemingly plenty of work to do after the red cars were thrashed by Mercedes in the second practice session.
Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas claimed a 1-2 result for the Silver Arrows at the end of the 90-minute session, with the pair’s fastest laps within less than five-hundredths of a second of each other. Hamilton’s session topping time of 1:22.600 was over 0.2 seconds faster than the time he clocked to claim pole position last year, suggesting the 5.3-kilometre Melbourne circuit’s qualifying lap record will be obliterated on Saturday afternoon.
Behind them was a mammoth 0.8 seconds – daylight, in Formula 1 terms – with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen third-quickest ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly.
The leading Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel was only fifth-fastest, with the German finishing ahead of former teammate Kimi Räikkönen in the Alfa Romeo. Whether the result reflects Ferrari’s true one-lap pace remains to be seen, and as the German only attempted two low-fuel laps in the session it would suggest that Ferrari may have been keeping their true performance under wraps.
Leading another tightly bunched midfield, Räikkönen narrowly edged the Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, while the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc – who had a wild spin exiting Turn 4 – was ninth-fastest. Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten in his Haas Ferrari.
Blustery conditions caught out a number of drivers during the session, with several drivers running wide through Turn 1 while others dropped a wheel onto the grass under braking for Turn 15 and had spins into the run-off.
Räikkönen and teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, along with Toro Rosso rookie Alexander Albon – who crashed out in FP1 earlier in the day – were all victims, although all were able to continue without any damage to their cars.
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:22.600||33|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:22.648||+ 0.048||33|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:23.400||+ 0.800||33|
|4.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:23.442||+ 0.842||31|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:23.473||+ 0.873||35|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:23.572||+ 0.972||40|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:23.574||+ 0.974||37|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:23.644||+ 1.044||31|
|9.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:23.754||+ 1.154||35|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:23.814||+ 1.214||37|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:23.933||+ 1.333||36|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:23.988||+ 1.388||27|
|13.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:24.011||+ 1.411||38|
|14.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:24.133||+ 1.533||26|
|15.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:24.293||+ 1.693||37|
|16.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:24.401||+ 1.801||34|
|17.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:24.675||+ 2.075||40|
|18.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:24.733||+ 2.133||26|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:26.453||+ 3.853||32|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:26.655||+ 4.055||33|
Images via Ignite Image (© MotorsportM8)
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