The Aston Martin Aramaco Cognizant Formula One Team’s Fernando Alonso was fastest on the opening day of action Down Under in Melbourne.
The Spaniard set a fastest time of 01:18.887s and speaking following the action he said:
It was a good Friday for us and nice to be back in Australia. In FP1 we concentrated on some test items and ran through our programme smoothly. The afternoon was obviously impacted by the rain, so there is still some work to do tomorrow. We need to learn more about the tyres and the long run pace of the car because there was not much time for that today. So far though the car seems to behave well. The forecast tomorrow looks dry for now, and we would welcome that given we only experienced these conditions in the previous two races.”
Charles Leclerc was second for Ferrari just ahead of defending champion Max Verstappen and Mercedes George Russell who commented following the action saying:
Overall, it wasn’t too bad a day. We’ve been making good steps with the car on Fridays. We’ve been changing a few things and getting the car in a nice window as the weekend progresses. That’s quite satisfying from the driver’s seat, knowing that the car feels better and as a team we have contributed towards that.
FP2 was frustrating for everybody with the rain. It was still a reasonable session for us though, as we made a step forward from FP1. Let’s see what tomorrow brings with the weather. The rain came in quite suddenly today and there may be some around tomorrow so I would be happy for things to be spiced up.
The difference in tarmac race-to-race has a substantial effect on the car and the feeling of driving it. Jeddah and Melbourne have similar tarmac so you can really push the tyres hard. You can do numerous push laps which is unique; in Qualifying we’re going to be doing lots of laps. That’s different to the norm so it could be exciting. We know we’ve got more performance to come in future races, but we need to maximise our chances this weekend. We will keep trying our best to maximise the potential of the car.
Carlos Sainz was fifth in his Ferrari just ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez who took victory in Saudi Arabia last time out.
Lando Norris had a solid session as he ended the day in P8 with a time of 01:20.176s and speaking following the action he said:
I think it’s been a decent day. I struggled a little bit with my overall feeling in FP1 but it was still productive. We used the whole of FP1 to do some more aero testing for the future, so, I never got the best read initially. FP2 felt like it was really my first proper session, and I got a little more comfortable. So, it was a good day. We got through all of our tests, got through what we wanted to do, got a good reading on the car and can make some changes for tomorrow – and I got a bit of wet testing in as well. So, a productive day, and we’ll try to go better tomorrow.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Nico Hulkenberg was ninth just ahead of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.
Valtteri Bottas was 12th and speaking following the action he said:
We showed some progress from the first to the second session, both in terms of feeling with the car and of pace. It is a little tricky here with the traffic, as it’s a narrow track and there aren’t many places where to give way, but it has been the same for everybody this morning. Both sessions have been a bit mixed; I wasn’t entirely happy with the balance of the car during FP1, but we changed the setup ahead of FP2 and tested the new nose and front wing with positive results. Overall, I am feeling good ahead of the weekend: there is still some work to do and some time to find, but we are on the right path.
Lewis Hamilton was P13 with a time of 01:20.323s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
This morning was good, but this afternoon wasn’t as good. We made some changes after FP1 that didn’t quite work and we will look to revert this evening. It also rained in FP2, so it wasn’t the greatest of sessions. You don’t tend to learn a huge amount in those mixed conditions. It’s more about keeping the car safe.
As we saw this morning, traffic is always an issue here. Everyone had troubles in FP1 with the GPS so hopefully that won’t happen again, and we won’t get in each other’s way. We won’t be competing against the Red Bulls tomorrow. We will be trying to get up as high as possible though; I think we’ve got similar pace to the last race in Saudi Arabia.
Oscar Piastri in his first home practice session was P14 with a time of 01:20.380s and speaking following the action he said:
It was great to be out on track here in Melbourne and see all the fans. It was nice to have a bit of wet weather in FP2 as it was the first time running on the Intermediate tyres for me, so it was some really useful learning. I think the first day was good and we’re in a decent place for tomorrow. There’s still prep to do overnight into tomorrow but I’m adjusting to the track and getting used to it. All-in-all a pretty solid day.”
Zhou Guanyu was P15 just ahead of Lance Stroll and Ncyk De Vries while Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the order. Logan Sargeant did not participate in second practice.