Formula 1 Commentary

Live: F1 Australian GP commentary and updates – FP1 & FP2

Minute-by-minute updates on Friday practice for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Live: F1 Australian GP commentary and updates – FP1 & FP2

Over two years on from the cancelled Australian GP due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, F1 makes its highly-anticipated return to a revamped Albert Park for 2022.

The key track changes see sections of the circuit widened, the Turn 9-10 chicane taken out to increase speeds in a flowing back section and the entire layout has been resurfaced. All changes have been made in the hope of increasing overtaking opportunities and creating more exciting races.

Sebastian Vettel is back in action for Aston Martin after missing the opening two races having tested positive for COVID-19.

Charles Leclerc leads the early F1 drivers’ world championship by 12 points from Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen in third 20 points off Leclerc.

Opening practice for the Australian GP gets underway at 4am BST (1pm local time), followed by second practice which starts at 7am BST (4pm local time).

By: Haydn Cobb, Tom Howard

Summary

Summary
- Leclerc leads FP2 for Ferrari at the revised Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne for F1's first visit Down Under since the cancelled 2020 race
- Sainz headed his team-mate in FP1, but is beaten to second in FP2 by Verstappen's Red Bull - who trailed championship leader Leclerc by 0.245s
- Vettel absent from FP2 after his Aston Martin suffered an engine issue in FP1 
- The four-time world champion will visit stewards after returning to the pits on a scooter via the track, in violation of rules
- Russell ended up as the fastest Mercedes in P11, while Hamilton finished P13, 1.5s shy of Leclerc
- Debris from Stroll's sister Aston brings out red flag in FP2 after Perez's Red Bull had done the same during FP1
Leaderboard
  1. Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m18.978s
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m19.223s 
  3. Sainz, Ferrari, 1m19.376s
  4. Alonso, Alpine, 1m19.537s
  5. Perez, Red Bull, 1m19.658s
  6. Ocon, Alpine, 1m19.842s
  7. Bottas, Alfa Romeo, 1m20.055s
  8. Norris, McLaren, 1m20.100s
  9. Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m20.142s
  10. Ricciardo, McLaren, 1m20.203s
Status: Stopped
In the meantime, we'll have all the reaction from Friday's running, including the all-important number-crunching feature, online later today. So be sure to keep an eye on Autosport.com for all the latest news and analysis from Melbourne. See you tomorrow.
Thanks very much for joining us this morning. We'll be back tomorrow with all the action from FP3 and qualifying - please do follow along with us then.
Here's the full report from FP2 in Melbourne, as Charles Leclerc topped the times for Ferrari ahead of Max Verstappen: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-australian-gp-leclerc-beats-verstappen-to-top-fp2/9711882/
 
Haas appeared to not to be quite at the races today. Magnussen's 1m21.191s was good enough for only 16th and meant he was over a second and a half slower than Alonso at the head of the midfield. Can the team turn it around tomorrow?
 
With Russell only 11th and Hamilton 13th, it's been hardly an ideal day for the Silver Arrows. Hamilton took to the gravel at Turn 14 too, underlining that the W13 isn't easy to drive at the moment.
Although he had a faux pas at Turn 1 and plunged into the gravel, Bottas appears to have continued his race-winning form from 2019 and is a strong seventh for Alfa Romeo, while McLaren appears to be getting on top of its braking troubles with both cars inside the top 10. But what of Mercedes?
 
It was an encouraging day for Alpine. Now in their blue livery after running a pink hue for the first two races, the French cars appeared to be the best of the rest today as Alonso beat Jeddah poleman Perez into fourth and Ocon claimed sixth spot.
Unlike FP1, where Ferrari locked out the top two places, the scarlet cars were split this time around by Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Still, a 0.254s gap is still a fairly healthy one in F1 terms.
So it's a case of as you were for Ferrari, only this time with Leclerc ending FP2 on top after Sainz had led FP1.
The checkered flag is out, bringing an end to FP2.
Over at Alfa, Bottas remains firmly in the top 10 with a 1m20.055 that has him seventh at the moment. But its second car driven by rookie Zhou is a second further back and at the tail of the midfield runners in 15th.
Ferrari responds that it doesn't see anything wrong at the moment. Leclerc is currently lapping in the mid 1m23s bracket on the mediums.
"I've got a lot of air in the cockpit," Leclerc reports. "Is everything okay?"
The Ferrari may be quick, but it's porpoising horribly on the long run to the fast left-right chicane and giving Leclerc's neck a real workout as it bounces up and down.
The Ferrari may be quick, but it's porpoising horribly on the long run to the fast left-right chicane and giving Leclerc's neck a real workout as it bounces up and down.
Meanwhile, Leclerc is told "everybody reporting graining on the medium compound".
Almost everybody is back on track for the final flourishes, with the exception of the two Astons.