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.

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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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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