FP2: Leclerc tops second practice as Ferrari impresses in Melbourne on the opening day

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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc set the benchmark in the second one-hour practice at the Australian Grand Prix, dominating proceedings both on the medium and the soft compound. Max Verstappen finished four tenths of a second behind with the returning Carlos Sainz impressing with the third-quickest lap. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 2.

After Lando Norris set the benchmark time in the opening practice, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc went fastest in the afternoon one-hour session in Melbourne with a time of 1m 17.277s. The Monegasque was fastest after the medium-tyre runs, and he could further extend his lead on Pirelli's C5 compound to stay 381 thousands of a second clear of championship runaway leader Max Verstappen.

Having returned to action after his surgery, Carlos Sainz displayed encouraging pace, ending the session third. Just as in Jeddah, Aston Martin appears to carry eye-catching one-lap pace in Australia with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso taking fourth and fifth respectively.

George Russell set the sixth fastest time in what looked to be a slightly challenging session for Mercedes. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton ended up 18th quickest with the seven-time world champion having complained about set-up experiments his team has performed in order to calm down the rear end of their W15.

McLaren had a very impressive run during the opening practice, but they were unable to keep with the improving pace of their rivals in Free Practice 2 with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris taking 7th and 8th quickest.

Alex Albon, meanwhile, was forced to sit out FP2 altogether following his heavy crash in first practice. The Thai driver was uninjured but the Williams squad required further time to assess the damage to his car.

The Visa Cash RB team displayed encouraging pace with Yuki Tsunoda finishing in P10. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo set the 12th quickest lap.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:17.27725
21Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:17.658+0.381s20
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:17.707+0.430s24
418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:17.822+0.545s28
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:17.912+0.635s30
663George RussellMercedes1:17.951+0.674s23
781Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:18.077+0.800s28
811Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:18.090+0.813s32
94Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:18.155+0.878s22
1022Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:18.188+0.911s26
1124Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.421+1.144s31
123Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:18.534+1.257s29
132Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:18.578+1.301s23
1477Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.585+1.308s31
1510Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:18.691+1.414s32
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:18.702+1.425s27
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:18.705+1.428s31
1844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.834+1.557s22
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:19.275+1.998s30