2014 Australian Grand Prix Friday - Practice


By: Matt Beer, Ben Anderson, Scott Mitchell, Edd Straw, Sam Tremayne


Status: Stopped
06:22 And on that portentous note, we're going to wrap up our live coverage from the first day of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow to cover the third and final practice and, from 0600 GMT, the first qualifying session of the year.

Where's your money? Can anyone disrupt Mercedes? Is the Red Bull comeback well and truly on?

Tomorrow, the answers will begin to be revealed. Join us then.

Jenson Button F1 McLaren 2014

Jenson Button F1 McLaren 2014

06:18 Meanwhile, Jenson Button has offered an ominous insight into how he and McLaren are reading the early form book.

The Briton insists second and fifth in practice flatters McLaren, and is convinced Mercedes is effectively in a league of its own, able to lap around one second faster than any of its rivals.

Mercedes one second clear of rivals - Button
06:10 Caterham had a dire time of today's two practice sessions, with Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson completing just three laps between them during the 180 minutes.

Both drivers are adamant however that they will be able to run in the third and final session, despite being hit by problems that did not occur during testing.

Caterham adamant it will run in P3
05:50 Back in the dark days of Red Bull's Bahrain test, Sebastian Vettel said that a major factor in the struggle was a shortage of parts, with the team a long way from Milton Keynes and low on bits that hadn't already been broken once.

He predicted that purely restocking on spares would make a big difference to the champion squad, and seems to have been proved right today.

"The biggest difference is that we got new parts, not necessarily performance parts, but new parts," Vettel said.

"We didn't have the spares in testing and we ended up with a fix here and there, so that is the biggest difference."
05:48 Grosjean says his shunt was caused by a suspension failure rather than a driver error.

He had plenty to say about the scale of Lotus's problems and what it means for the Melbourne weekend - more of which will appear in our news section.
05:43 Got news coming up about Jenson Button's verdict from the day too - he may have been second to Alonso in the morning, but he's not getting his hopes up.
This cloud of dust is Romain Grosjean's Lotus landing in the gravel after bouncing off the barriers at the end of afternoon practice today.

That was the last thing the team needed after a very troubled day. More information on the causes of Lotus's dramas on AUTOSPORT shortly.
05:27 Positive noises from Ferrari today. Fernando Alonso was quickest in the morning and third behind the Mercedes in the afternoon.

"Even if there was an element of nervousness because of the complexity introduced by the new technical regulations, everything went well," he said.

"The team did a super job and we had no problems.

"It's impossible to have a clear idea of how competitive we are, because as usual, Friday results don't mean much.

"To know more, we must wait until everyone is running in the same trim."
05:09 For a full set of drivers' quotes from the weekend, and a lot more, this is the place to go:

FORIX driver data page for the Australian GP

Quotes from across the whole weekend will be added to that page as the event progresses, and if you can click on each driver's name to get full data from their weekend - including complete race laptimes and gap chart after the grand prix on Sunday.
05:06 Definitely first blood to Marussia in the back-of-the-grid battle today. It managed 68 laps compared to Caterham's three, although most of those had to be in practice two as software issues disrupted the morning.
Nico Hulkenberg ended his practice day backwards and in the gravel. He shrugged the incident off and put it down to poor visibility.

"I put a wheel on the grass under braking, but the conditions were difficult because the sun was so low in the sky," he said.
04:57 Williams was third and fourth in practice one, but only eighth and 12th in practice two.

Felipe Massa, the slower of the two Martini-coloured cars each time, remains relaxed and confident:

"The focus was not just going on the fastest lap; also the focus was on trying to understand the best solution for the car – trying to understand everything around the set-up and what will be the direction for tomorrow," he said.

"That was our focus today and there’s a lot more to come tomorrow."
04:42 Hamilton is confident that Mercedes has managed a permanent fix for the sensor issue that cost him that morning of running.

"That, I think, is a one-off," he said.

"We were the only ones to stop but I think over the season you'll see hiccups like that.

"But that issue will not be an issue for us again."
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's day started with a technical problem, but ended with the fastest time.

He thinks Mercedes has already overcome losing half today's available track time. Full story:

Hamilton recovers from 'back foot'
04:34 BEN ANDERSON has just returned from Caterham, he'll have more details about the depth of the team's plight on AUTOSPORT shortly.
04:31 But it's been an even worse one for Caterham. Marcus Ericsson had an electrical issue on his car's engine on his first lap in the morning, and a hydraulics problem right at the start of practice two.

"Fixing anything like this under the engine cover takes a lot longer than it used to with the old engines, so that was the end of the session for me and more work for the boys," he said.

Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi had a fuel system leak - which caused a small fire under the engine cover - on his installation lap in practice one, and with a power unit/engine change required, that was it for his day.
04:29 It's not been a great start to 2014 for Sauber today.

Both Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez had gearbox and ERS problems during the two practice sessions, leaving them firmly in the midfield.

The team managed to get some reasonable mileage in practice two, but it's clear there's a long way to go.

"We are definitely missing a lot of speed and our pace is not where we want it to be," said Gutierrez.
04:22 Nico Rosberg was heard on the radio debating fuel economy tactics with his Mercedes crew during practice.

After the first three hours of running, he reckons the fuel limit situation will be right on the edge:

"This is one of the worst tracks for that. I can see where I should be [on fuel mileage] and I can see what I'm doing and it's really, really difficult.

"So that's going to be a big challenge for Sunday.

"And that's why it's going to be completely different from Saturday to Sunday. Saturday qualifying is a total different story to Sunday's race."
04:17 It's time for part two of Lewis Hamilton's exclusive video interview for The Racer's Edge with F1 Racing and AUTOSPORT.

This time the questions come from fans, giving Hamilton chance to reveal why he thinks Eau Rouge will become a challenge again this year, and what he rates as his best ever overtaking move (clue: it happened at Buckmore Park).

04:06 Here's the full story of that positive vibe flowing out of Red Bull this morning:

Vettel: Red Bull's start a 'big relief'
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