The world’s best formula one drivers tested their latest cars on Friday during the second practice session ahead of the Australian Grand Prix 2022. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished in the first spot as he clocked the fasted lap time of 1:18.978 seconds around the modified Albert Park circuit with fourteen corners. The reigning world champion Max Verstappen finished in the second position, 0.245 seconds behind Leclerc.
Friday’s FP2 began with a little drizzle as Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas went ahead for his first lap while Verstappen waited in the car for his turn. Meanwhile, the Red Bull team worked on setting up some modifications for Max. Moreover, Sebastian Vettel was forced to sit out during the second run after his Aston Martin’s engine started blowing smoke during FP1.
During the first session, McLaren led from the front, with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Lando Norris. However, the lead did not last long as Leclerc’s sped past them and finished at a lap time of 1:20.898, followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz in the second spot. The drivers kicked off the first session with medium Perelli tires.
Moreover, the race stewards noted Sainz and Lando Stroll as impending. Stroll was at fault during this incident. Before the incident, Sainz had already been impeded against Guanyu Zhou in FP1.
Leclerc Goes Past Everyone To Set The Fastest Lap Time
After swapping the tires to soft Pirrelis, Sainz had to bail out at the first corner during his flying lap as Yuki Tsunoda went steadily on the racing line. Sainz finished his next hot lap at 1:19.568 with Leclerc just behind by 0.203 seconds. Meanwhile, the reigning world champ Verstappen went out for a five-lap run before returning back to the pit. Max informed his team that he still had some issues. His car was incredibly neutral at high speed, and he could not turn in.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso also swapped his tires to record his quickest lap. However, his lap time was dropped by Sainz, who finished at 1:19.376, 0.111 seconds quicker than Charles’ improved time. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were eight and ninth. Meanwhile, Vettel still waited for his car to be fixed until the first half.
Red Bull’s Verstappen came out with a new set of soft tires as he finished over four-tenths down on Sainz’s best time. Verstappen crossed Alonso in his second lap. But, he still found himself four-tenths down as Leclerc replaced Saintz’s top time with his 1:18.978 lap time. Verstappen managed to finish second with 0.245 seconds behind Leclerc, followed by Sainz, who finished at the third spot.
Despite the team’s best efforts, Aston Martin announced that Vettel would not be returning to the Australian Grand Prix track with fifteen minutes left in the session. With 12 minutes left, a red flag was lifted after Lance Stroll mounted the kerb, and a piece of his front left wheel brow came off. Late in the session, Leclerc reported that he felt a lot of air in the cockpit around his legs.
He then checked with the pit crew if everything was okay with his car. Ferrari informed Leclerc that there were no signs of a problem as Leclerc continued with his laps. Leclerc, Verstappen, and Sainz finished in the top three. Mercedes’ Russell and Hamilton finished at the 11th and 13th spots. The seven-time world champ is 1.5 seconds off the pace.