Two of three F1 Practice sessions got underway ahead of the first race of the 2019 F1 Season in Australia, Melbourne. Mercedes leave the track tonight on-top and with a big margin to the rest of the teams. How will the rest of the teams respond come Saturday?
Friday Practice 1 Review
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton led an ultra-close opening practice session with just 0.07s separating the Brit and the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. The top 3 teams, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were covered by just 2 tenths of a second. It was a great session for Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen who was 6th and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who was 7th albeit on the Medium tyre.
Home-favourite, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo ended the session 17th after missing most of the session while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, suffered electrical problems and missed an hour, was 10th quickest.
There were a number of mistakes made by the drivers: Mercedes Valterri Bottas lost the rear of his car at the penultimate corner and spun, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon spun at turn 2 and damaged the front and rear wing of his STR14 and Williams Robert Kubica, who ran wide at turn 1 – taking to the grass.
1.Hamilton – 1:23:599 2.Vettel 3.Leclerc 4.Verstappen 5.Bottas 6.Raikkonen 7.Kvyat 8.Gasly 9.Magnussen 10.Hulkenberg 11.Giovinazzi 12.Grosjean 13.Albon 14.Sainz Jr 15.Stroll 16.Perez 17.Ricciardo 18.Norris 19.Kubica 20.Russell
Friday Practice 2 Review
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton was closely followed by team-mate Valterri Bottas as the reigning champions pulled clear of their opposition. The Mercedes men traded top times and ended 8 tenths ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. All teams ran low-fuel runs for qualifying and race simulations come Sunday. The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc finished the session in 9th.
More mistakes were made by the drivers including: Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen who ran wide at turn 1, the 2007 World Champion’s team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi spun at the penultimate corner and Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon who ran wide at turn 3 and the penultimate corner. Ferrari’s Leclerc had a heart-stopping moment as the exit of turn 4, losing control of his SF90.
Alfa Romeo’s Raikkonen finished an impressive 6th with the Renault’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo in 7th and 8th. Further back, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was 13th ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr who was 6 tenths quicker than team-mate and rookie, Lando Norris in 18th.
1.Hamilton – 1:22:600 2.Bottas 3.Verstappen 4.Gasly 5.Vettel 6.Raikkonen 7.Hulkenberg 8.Ricciardo 9.Leclerc 10.Grosjean 11.Kvyat 12.Magnussen 13.Stroll 14.Sainz Jr 15.Giovinazzi 16.Perez 17.Albon 18.Norris 19.Russell 20.Kubica