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Australian GP 2011

MARCH 25, 2011

Practice 2 Report - Button tops opening day in Melbourne

Jenson Button, Australian GP 2011
© The Cahier Archive

McLaren Mercedes unexpectedly topped the first day of practice of the new F1 season in Melbourne with Jenson Button lapping in 1:25.854 and Lewis Hamilton in 1:25.986.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:26.001) finished Melbourne's afternoon session just two hundredths of a second behind Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull just a hundredth slower. The Red Bull pair concentrated on longer runs for most of the session with home hero Mark Webber, quickest in the opening session, finishing the day fifth overall.

"It was a good day and we got through what we needed to," the Aussie said. "The tyre wear was probably a bit better than we saw in the winter and I think that was the same for everyone."

Michael Schumacher (1:26.590) finished up sixth fastest with the first of the Mercedes, ahead of Felipe Massa (1:26.789) and then rookie Sauber driver Sergio Perez (1:27.101). Rubens Barrichello (1:27.280) ended up ninth in the Williams-Cosworth, ahead of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes (1:27.448).

That made six different chassis in the top 10 positions and the next two were close behind, with Jaime Alguersuari (1:27.525) 11th in the first Toro Rosso STR06, just three thousandths of a second faster than Vitaly Petrov's Renault (1:27.528).

Further down, new Force India signing Paul di Resta pipped team mate Adrian Sutil by a couple of tenths and Heikki Kovalainen finished 4.9s away from the front-running pace with the first of the Lotus T128s. Jerome D'Ambrosio was marginally quicker than Virgin Racing team mate Timo Glock but, 6.2s behind the ultimate pace, was 0.3s down on the 107% mark, which the teams need to achieve in the first qualifying session in 2011.