After edging ahead of Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc in opening practice on Friday at Albert Park, Lewis Hamilton turned up the wick in FP2 as he set a fastest lap time of 1m22.600s in the Mercedes W10 car. Yet there’s a very good change that both Ferrari and Red Bull have been holding back in this opening day, which means that we’ll have to wait for Saturday in order to better assess the true potential of the Maranello team in the first race of the 2019 Formula One season.
Hamilton’s lap on the Soft compound tyre was enough to give him top spot by 0.048 seconds from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with the duo running over three-quarters of a second clear of their rivals. Max Verstappen finished as the best of the rest for Red Bull, but could only lap eight-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s time – a daunting chasm the chasing pack will hope shrinks through the remainder of the weekend.
Pierre Gasly took fourth in the second Red Bull car, albeit reporting a late loss of power in FP2, while Sebastian Vettel ended the session 0.873s back from Hamilton in fifth as the lead Ferrari driver. Teammate Charles Leclerc wound up ninth-fastest, 1.1 seconds back off the pace. Charles also spun in the final five minutes of the session at Turn 4, but was able to recover his car back to the pits.
Kimi Raikkonen continued his strong start to the weekend for Alfa Romeo as he finished sixth ahead of the Renault duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo missed the early part of the session while adjustments were made to the race seat in his Renault R.S.19 car, but rallied to take eight overall. Behind Charles Leclerc, Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas, with teammate Kevin Magnussen taking 12th, the pair split by Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso.
Lance Stroll led Racing Point’s charge in 13th ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Antonio Giovinazzi, who escaped a spin at the final chicane without damaging his Alfa Romeo C38. Sergio Perez took 16th in the sister Racing Point car ahead of Alexander Albon, who had a second spin in as many sessions today as he also went off at the final chicane after touching the grass. Lando Norris finished 18th for McLaren ahead of the Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica, who finished over 1.7 seconds off the rest of the field.
Full results from Free Practice 2 for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, round one of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Formula 1 2019 Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Results
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1m22.600s
2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.048s
3. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.800s
4. Pierre Gasly FRA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.842s
5. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 0.873s
6. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing + 0.972s
7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault F1 Team + 0.974s
8. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team + 1.044s
9. Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari + 1.154s
10. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.214s
11. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1.333s
12. Kevin Magnussen DEN Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.388s
13. Lance Stroll CAN SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.411s
14. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team + 1.533s
15. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.693s
16. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.801s
17. Alexander Albon THA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 2.075s
18. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 2.133s
19. George Russell GBR ROKiT Williams Racing + 3.853s
20. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing + 4.055s