Charles Leclerc Makes A Fast Start In Melbourne

Charles Leclerc Makes A Fast Start In Melbourne
Charles Leclerc Makes A Fast Start In Melbourne

At the Australian Grand Prix‘s second free practice, Charles Leclerc from Ferrari emerged as the quickest, outpacing Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen by a margin of nearly four-tenths of a second at the Albert Park circuit. Carlos Sainz, driving the second Ferrari, secured the third-fastest time, a mere five-hundredths of a second slower than Verstappen.

Sergio Pérez of Red Bull Racing was the first to clock a time during the session, recording a lap of 1:20.434 on the C4 medium compound tyres. However, his time was quickly surpassed as various drivers took to the track, with Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin setting an early pace with a 1:19.412 lap, also on mediums.

Australia’s own Oscar Piastri briefly went fastest before Alonso, on his second lap, reclaimed the top spot with a time of 1:18.805. Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll then slotted into second place with a 1:18.979 lap. The Aston Martins were then split by Lando Norris, the fastest from FP1, who edged out Stroll by three-thousandths of a second.

As the session approached the fifteen-minute mark, Pérez climbed to the forefront, slightly more than a tenth ahead of Alonso. Yet, his position at the top was short-lived as Charles Leclerc, in the Ferrari SF24, posted a 1:18.265 lap, and then Norris went fastest with a 1:18.201 lap.

A tense moment unfolded for Logan Sargeant of Williams, who spun at Turn 11 but managed to avoid contact with the barriers and continued driving. Meanwhile, his teammate Alex Albon was unable to participate in the session due to ongoing repairs on his FW44.

Before the first third of the session concluded, Leclerc reclaimed the fastest time with a 1:17.936 lap on medium tyres. Alonso switched to soft compound C5 Pirelli tyres and initially set the fastest time in the first sector. However, he lost time in the second sector and had a lock-up, ultimately settling for second fastest with a 1:18.127 lap. Correcting his errors on a subsequent attempt, Alonso took the top spot with a 1:17.912 lap, only to be outdone by Stroll, who lowered the fastest time to 1:17.822.

Max Verstappen, the championship leader, had been confined to the garage for a floor change after an incident in FP1, and he only joined the track shortly before the halfway point. His first flying lap led to a wide turn, placing him in 19th with a 1:19.848 lap on medium tyres.

After the 30-minute mark, Leclerc, now on soft tyres, firmly took control with a 1:17.423 lap, setting the fastest times in all three sectors, and establishing a 0.399-second gap ahead of Stroll. Verstappen, still on medium tyres, improved to sixth place with a 1:17.981 lap.

With 23 minutes left, Carlos Sainz inched closer to his teammate Leclerc, moving into second place ahead of Stroll with a 1:17.70 lap, although he remained over four-tenths behind Leclerc. In the final third of the session, most drivers focused on long-run simulations on medium tyres, while Verstappen switched to softs. His initial soft tyre lap matched Sainz’s time, but since he posted it later, he was classified third.

Verstappen’s subsequent attempt placed him ahead of Sainz by just under five-hundredths of a second, securing second place with a 1:17.658 lap, still 0.381 seconds slower than Leclerc.

No further improvements were made on soft tyres, and Verstappen returned to the pits to fit mediums for the final nine minutes. The session concluded with Leclerc fastest, followed by Verstappen, Sainz, and the Aston Martins of Stroll and Alonso. George Russell was sixth for Mercedes, Piastri seventh for McLaren, Pérez eighth, Norris ninth, and Yuki Tsunoda of Red Bull rounding out the top ten, 0.911 seconds off the pace.

Charles Leclerc – P1 in FP2

‘It was a solid first day, everything felt good from the start and I was comfortable in the car.
The most important thing for us to do tomorrow will be to go with the track and anticipate what the evolution will be like. We will focus on optimising our balance and try to make a step forward before qualifying. It looks good for now but we have to wait and see how it will look tomorrow, I expect the field to be much tighter.’

2024 Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Results

PositionDriverTeamTimeGapLapsSpeed (km/h)
1Charles LeclercFerrari1:17.27726245.879
2Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:17.658+0.38121244.672
3Carlos SainzFerrari1:17.707+0.43025244.518
4Lance StrollAston Martin1:17.822+0.54529244.157
5Fernando AlonsoAston Martin1:17.912+0.63531243.875
6George RussellMercedes1:17.951+0.67424243.753
7Oscar PiastriMcLaren1:18.077+0.80029243.359
8Sergio PérezRed Bull Racing1:18.090+0.81333243.319
9Lando NorrisMcLaren1:18.155+0.87823243.116
10Yuki TsunodaRB1:18.188+0.91127243.014
11Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber1:18.421+1.14432242.292
12Daniel RicciardoRB1:18.534+1.25730241.943
13Logan SargeantWilliams1:18.578+1.30123241.808
14Valtteri BottasKick Sauber1:18.585+1.30832241.786
15Pierre GaslyAlpine1:18.691+1.41433241.460
16Nico HülkenbergHaas1:18.702+1.42528241.427
17Esteban OconAlpine1:18.705+1.42832241.417
18Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.834+1.55723241.022
19Kevin MagnussenHaas1:19.275+1.99831239.682

2024 Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results

PositionDriverTeamTimeGapLapsSpeed (km/h)
1Lando NorrisMcLaren1:18.56423241.851
2Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:18.582+0.01819241.795
3George RussellMercedes1:18.597+0.03321241.749
4Charles LeclercFerrari1:18.599+0.03522241.743
5Yuki TsunodaRB1:18.621+0.05726241.675
6Sergio PérezRed Bull Racing1:18.642+0.07823241.611
7Lance StrollAston Martin1:18.667+0.10326241.534
8Carlos SainzFerrari1:18.686+0.12223241.476
9Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.771+0.20720241.215
10Oscar PiastriMcLaren1:18.918+0.35425240.766
11Daniel RicciardoRB1:19.274+0.71025239.685
12Alexander AlbonWilliams1:19.443+0.87911239.175
13Kevin MagnussenHaas1:19.489+0.92521239.036
14Logan SargeantWilliams1:19.519+0.95522238.946
15Esteban OconAlpine1:19.561+0.99725238.820
16Nico HülkenbergHaas1:19.604+1.04021238.691
17Pierre GaslyAlpine1:19.622+1.05825238.637
18Fernando AlonsoAston Martin1:19.716+1.15216238.356
19Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber1:19.989+1.42523237.542
20Valtteri BottasKick Sauber1:20.014+1.45021237.468
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