Australian GP 2023
MARCH 31, 2023
Practice 2 Report - Alonso sets the pace in second practice
By Peter Habicht
Changing afternoon conditions gave drivers just under 15 minutes of dry running time at the beginning of the session before rain began to fall, and forced teams to use intermediate wet weather tires for most of Friday’s second free practice at the Australian Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was early to capitalize on medium tires on a dry circuit with a lap time of 1m18.887s set in first ten minutes and would hold on to be fastest of the session.
Charles Leclerc was second fastest in his Ferrari with a 1m19.332s and the Red Bull-Honda of Max Verstappen was third quickest with a 1m19.502s.
George Russell in the Mercedes GP ran his fastest lap of 1m19.672s on hard compound tires to finish fourth, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz drove a fastest lap of 1m19.695s on medium tires for fifth.
Estabon Ocon in the Alpine-Renault was sixth, Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull was seventh, Lando Norris in the McLaren was eighth, Nico Hulkenberg in the Haas-Ferrari was ninth, and Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri rounded out the top ten. Lewis Hamilton was 13th and Lance Stroll finished in 16th.
Traffic was a factor during the dry portion of the session, as Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou held up Sergio Perez’ Red Bull, and Sainz encounted Verstappen in the middle of a hot lap.
As rain began to fall, the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and the Williams-Mercedes of Logan Sargent had not set any times on the circuit, with Sargeant ultimately sitting out the entire session due to earlier technical issues with his FW45.
Several drivers had big moments in the wet, and painted city street traffic markings proved slippery as the rain continued to fall. Turn 1 has been a notable trouble spot for drivers, as Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris showed in the session.
Unable to improve on the dry running times, teams used the damp, cool track to learn about their cars in wet conditions, running intermediate wet tires throughout the second half of the session.
The rest of the weekend’s weather forecast at the Albert Park Circuit is expected to be mostly to party cloudy with a decreased chance of rain for the remaining days.