MELBOURNE, Australia—Fernando Alonso showed Friday afternoon at the Albert Park Circuit that choosing slick tyres for one of his runs in second practice was worth the risk, as the Spaniard clocked a 1:18:887 fastest lap ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.
Alonso’s time was followed by a rain shower with 45 minutes left in the session, which ruined any chances for the other drivers to try and beat the Aston Martin’s drivers best lap. With time running out in the afternoon, most drivers took a quick break before continuing with intermediate tyres, which definitely would not beat Alonso’s best time, but realizing that the possibility of continuing rain later in the session, was worth the risk.
Despite this issue, there were no problems or major events all session, and despite Verstappen taking the opening session in the morning, the Dutchman still had the quickest time of the day, just a tenth ahead of Alonso, considering the wet weather later in the day.
For the rest of the top ten, Mercedes George Russell took fourth, which was the only driver on his team to place in the top ten, as teammate Lewis Hamilton struggled all afternoon, placing a disappointing 13th.
Carlos Sainz led the second Ferrari taking fifth with both Alpine drivers, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finishing in sixth and tenth, respectively. Sergio Perez had problems with traffic and could never get a good lap and could not do any better than seventh, while Lando Norris placed his McLaren in eighth position. Nico Hulkenberg took ninth in his Haas F1 entry.
The only driver who did not participate in the second session was Williams driver Logan Sargeant, who encountered electrical issues in the morning and could not get his car repaired in time, relying on his mechanics to work on the problem to have everything ready for Saturday’s practice three.
The weather expects to continue with overnight rain but should be dry for qualifying and the race.
By Mark Gero