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Max second after Melbourne Friday practice: 'Not worried'

Published on 22 March 2024 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was second fastest after Friday practice of the Australian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc was quickest around the Albert Park Circuit. The Ferrari driver lapped the Melbourne based track almost four tenths quicker than the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver. Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz completed the top three, ahead of the two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

During FP2, Max lost over twenty minutes due to work on his RB20, resulting in limited track time. “It was a bit of a messy session because of what happened in first practice session”, explains Max. “I went too wide and damaged the floor and chassis. It all took a bit longer to repair, but I think we were able to turn it around quickly. I was able to do pretty much my programme. Of course, I would’ve liked to complete more laps on my long run, but with twenty minutes less, it is what it is.”

Looking ahead to the remainder of the weekend, the reigning champion said: “Ferrari is quick, but we still have to do some finetuning. It’s not weird or something to worry about. We just need to finetune the car a bit.”

At the start of the session is becomes clear that only 19 drivers will participate in FP2. Following a heavy crash in the morning, Alex Albon’s Williams is too damaged. To make matters worse, the Grove-based outfit opted not to bring a spare chassis, which could compromise the rest of Albon’s weekend. Meanwhile, whilst Max waits for his RB20 to be repaired, team mate Sergio Perez is the first driver to set a lap.

Leclerc is first to break the 1:17 barrier and sets the pace early on in the session. Twenty minutes in, Max heads out on track. He does so on the mediums but is unable to threaten the top of the leader boards on his first flying lap. On his second attempt, the Dutchman encounters traffic, preventing him from setting a more competitive laptime.

At the halfway mark the top five is as follows: Leclerc, Stroll, Alonso, Rusell and Sainz. Max has dropped back to 19th but soon moves back up the order when bolting on the soft Pirellis. His first effort takes him into third, before the next attempt puts him into second, splitting the Ferraris. In the closing quarter, the attention of the drivers switches to long runs, meaning the lap times are no longer bettered.

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Results second free practice Australia:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:17.277 26
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:17.658+0.381s21
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:17.707+0.430s25
4Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:17.822+0.545s29
5Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:17.912+0.635s31
6George RussellRUSMercedes1:17.951+0.674s24
7Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:18.077+0.800s29
8Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:18.090+0.813s33
9Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:18.155+0.878s23
10Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:18.188+0.911s27
11Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.421+1.144s32
12Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:18.534+1.257s30
13Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:18.578+1.301s23
14Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.585+1.308s32
15Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:18.691+1.414s33
16Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:18.702+1.425s28
17Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:18.705+1.428s32
18Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:18.834+1.557s23
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:19.275+1.998s31