Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton continued where he left off in the first practice at the Australian Grand Prix, consistently lapping faster times than the rest of the chasing pack in Friday’s second practice session, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel half a second behind in second place.
While Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas had been impressive in the first session, his second outing saw a slight dip, ending the day a 100th of a second behind Vettel in third place. Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen was in fourth place and the only driver within a second of pace-setter Hamilton’s marker.
Red Bull also saw a slight downturn in fortunes, with their drivers finishing 5th and 6th in an incident packed practice session. Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was ahead of the much-vaunted Max Verstappen, but with Renault’s Joylon Palmer bringing out the red flags early in the session, many drivers saw their runs interrupted.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was another driver who had an unfruitful practice, hitting the gravel at Turn 6 while Williams’ Felipe Massa failed to recover from a gearbox issue and was unable to go round Albert Park more than six times as a result. Kevin Magnussen was another driver who could not get much time on the tracks after his Haas was crippled by a water pressure issue.
Friday’s afternoon session proves that plenty of teams are struggling with a variety of issues and with time running out, they best get their act together if they wish to realistically compete in Saturday’s qualifying and the race on Sunday.