Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) won the first two free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix, but the drivers couldn’t drive much due to the rain that fell on Melbourne in the second session.
Once is not custom, it rained this Friday in Melbourne, which disrupted the second free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix. So much so that the pilots were only able, at best, to complete around twenty laps during each hour of testing on the Albert Park circuit. During the first, under the clouds, it was Max Verstappen, finally in good enough shape despite his health concerns, who came out of it the best, signing one of his 17 laps in 1’18″790, that is 433 thousandths better than Lewis Hamilton and 503 thousandths better than his team-mate Sergio Perez.
The Red Bull and Mercedes teams have made changes to their cars for this weekend, and it has been seen. Despite everything, the double world champion, who went out on the grass and spun during this session, complained about his gearbox and his rear brakes. The session was interrupted by two red flags, following a GPS failure and Logan Sargeant (Williams) leaving the track, but nothing serious. Fernando Alonso took fourth place, ahead of the two Ferraris, while Pierre Gasly finished eighth and Esteban Ocon sixteenth.
Alonso the fastest before the rain
The second session was very different since the rain came down after half an hour. Before that, Fernando Alonso, on an Aston Martin identical to that of the Saudi Arabian GP, managed a time of 1’18″887 that no one managed to beat. The Spanish driver was ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari (which has no changes this weekend either) by 445 thousandths and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull by 615 thousandths. As soon as the rain arrived, the drivers switched to intermediate tyres, and the time sheet did not change. Lance Stroll, Alonso’s teammate, had several scares, while Logan Sargeant did not participate in this session due to an electrical problem. On the Alpine side, things went better for Esteban Ocon, sixth, while Pierre Gasly fell back in the standings to finish tenth. Saturday, the sun should return for the third free practice session (3:30 a.m. French time) and qualifying (7:00 a.m.).