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Formula 1 Australian GP

F1 Australian GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 & FP2

Friday's action from the third round of the 2023 Formula 1 season

The 2023 F1 season heads to Australia with Red Bull in the ascendency after extending its 100% winning start to the year following Sergio Perez’s victory in Saudi Arabia.

After following Perez to the chequered flag two weeks ago, reigning world champion and Bahrain GP winner Max Verstappen holds a one point lead from his team-mate after snatching a valuable fastest lap point in Jeddah.

All eyes will be on what Red Bull’s rivals can do to halt their charge at Albert Park, a venue the Milton Keynes operation hasn’t tasted victory since Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 triumph.

Australian GP first practice begins at 2:30am BST followed by second practice which starts at 6:00am BST. Qualifying takes place on Saturday at 6:00am BST to decide the starting grid for the race on Sunday at 6:00am BST.

By: Haydn Cobb, Megan White, James Newbold

Summary
  • Alonso tops F1 Australian GP second practice from Leclerc and Verstappen in dry running before rain arrives 13 minutes into the session
  • Verstappen fastest in dry FP1 ahead of Hamilton despite a late spin
  • Sargeant's electrical issue from first practice leaves him stuck in the garage in FP2
Leaderboard
  1. Alonso, Aston Martin
  2. Leclerc, Ferrari
  3. Verstappen, Red Bull
  4. Russell, Mercedes
  5. Sainz, Ferrari
  6. Ocon, Alpine
  7. Perez, Red Bull
  8. Norris, McLaren
  9. Hulkenberg, Haas
  10. Gasly, Alpine
Status: Stopped
Thanks very much for joining us today. We'll be back at the same time tomorrow to bring you all the updates as they happen from Albert Park in FP3 and qualifying. Until then, see you!
No running in the end then for Sargeant, who will head into tomorrow slightly on the back foot. And perhaps so too will the teams, who will have to rely more heavily on their FP1 data when it comes to making preparations for FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.
Here's Alex Kalinauckas's full report from FP2 as Alonso headed Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell, Sainz and Ocon: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-australian-gp-alonso-leads-leclerc-in-wet-fp2/10450706/
Two very different practice sessions then, with Verstappen and Alonso leading interrupted sessions. Perez, it's worth noting, was fastest in sectors one and two before being baulked by an Alfa Romeo, so his seventh-fastest time is slightly unrepresentative.
Just before the end of the session Russell was winding up a lap on the inters, but almost ran off the road under braking for Turn 13, which cost him time as he gathered up the Mercedes through the final right-hander.
The checkered flag is out, bringing an end to that rain-affected FP2. Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time before showers prompted drivers to switch to inters.
You can't blame Piastri for wanting to log the laps. Not only as a rookie because all experience is worthwhile, but he'll be savouring driving the Albert Park track just down the road from his home, having been a grid kid for Daniil Kvyaat just a few years ago.
The rain looks to be easing off from the naked eye, as Hulkenberg becomes the latest driver to dip into the 1m30s with an intermediate flyer.
The aforementioned trio all set laps in the 1m30s now, suggesting a mixture of increased confidence and perhaps slightly improved track conditions. One to keep an eye on.
There aren't many drivers lapping in the 1m31s, but Piastri, Russell and Magnussen are the trio currently circulating quickest in these tricky conditions.
Stroll's Turn 3 woes continue as he locks up and goes straight on into the gravel. Rain has properly worsened in the last 10 minutes or so, the track really looks slippery now as plumes of spray emerge from behind Hulkenberg, whose last lap was 15s off his dry best.
Alonso has joined the fray too. His place atop the timesheets appears safe, as he now logs what I expect will be his first wet laps aboard the Aston.
DRS issues solved for Hulkenberg, he joins the fray - but he'd be brave to try opening that rear wing flap now. Stroll illustrates just how slippery it is with a big moment exiting Turn 3 that almost sends him spearing into the wall on the right-hand side.
The McLarens are logging laps now on the inters too, Piastri's onboard showing him having to be quick with his hands to catch some wayward slides as the rear loses grip.
A few more cars including the Ferraris have now taken the plunge on inters. Rain now heavy enough it seems to create little puddles that will allow the tyres to work without overheating.
In the meantime, Christian Horner has spoken about the FIA's plans to stop teams climbing on the pitlane catch-fencing to greet their cars at the end of grands prix. His is likely to be the squad most impacted this year...

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/horner-surprised-at-fia-clampdown-on-iconic-f1-team-pitwall-celebrations/10450688/
Verstappen is the latest driver to take to the track on the green sidewall intermediates. But will he become the first to do a timed lap on them?
The only driver yet to set a time is Sargeant, although that's perhaps unsurprising given his problems that caused a red flag at the end of FP1.
Ocon, Hamilton and Gasly - who also took a little go on the inters - have all come back in following their instal laps so the track is once again empty.
Ocon is crawling around on the inters, probably just about quicker than Vettel went on his scooter run during practice last year. Hamilton has joined him in evaluating the inters, also taking it fairly easy.
"There is no point driving like this," Leclerc tells his crew. Both Ferraris come back in as Ocon departs the pits on intermediates.
Russell comes back in after his exploratory lap while the Ferraris continue to circulate, albeit at a significantly reduced speed as Sainz reports that the level of rain is increasing.
"Definitely not slicks," says Russell, who believes in 10 minutes that intermediates will be viable.
Ferrari sends both its cars out, joined by Russell. He remarks that its "surprising" to see the red cars on softs.
Will we see any more track running in this session? It seems unlikely if the rain continues to worsen that Alonso will be dislodged from the top of the timesheets. Teams will have to convert their cars to wet settings if they see any benefit in running, which of course has a limited benefit given the considerable risk that comes with street circuits.
Everybody is currently in the pits, which is a good opportunity for us to catch a breath and update you with the order. Alonso currently heads Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell, Sainz, Ocon and Perez - who was badly baulked after notching purple first and second sectors.