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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes top FP2 at the 2017 F1 Australian Grand Prix
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Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  24 Mar 2017   |  6:54 am GMT  |  425 comments

Lewis Hamilton set the best time in the second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix with a time just 0.091s slower than the fastest lap ever set on the Albert Park circuit.

The start of Formula 1’s new era began with a warm and sunny day of practice in Melbourne and Hamilton, who also topped the morning’s FP1 session, produced a best lap of 1m23.620s on Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyres shortly before the halfway mark of the afternoon running.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had spent a large chunk of the first half of the session in first place and, after being usurped by first Valtteri Bottas and then Hamilton, he went on to set the second best time of FP2, 0.547s slower than Hamilton, also using the ultra-soft rubber.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel split the Mercedes drivers as Bottas finished third quickest, 0.556s slower than his new team-mate, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth fastest in the second Ferrari. The 2007 world champion ended up 0.905s behind Hamilton after running wide at Turn 1 on his qualifying simulation lap.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fifth and sixth for Red Bull, with the latter abandoning his ultra-soft flying lap and heading to the pits after running wide at the exit of Turn 12 and damaging the floor of his RB13, which meant he only completed eight laps in the 90-minute session.

Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest for Toro Rosso, with Romain Grosjean, who had off-track moments at Turns 1 and 3 during the first half of FP2, finishing eighth fastest for Haas F1.

 Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest for Renault, with Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top ten in the second Toro Rosso.

Sergio Perez was 11th fastest, one place ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who spent the early part of the session waiting to get out as his team finished making changes to the MCL32 that they had started during the lunch break following FP1.

Encouragingly for McLaren, which had endured a heavily-disrupted period of pre-season testing, Alonso did put in 19 laps and ended up 2.3s behind Hamilton’s best time, while his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne completed 33 laps without an issue and finished 17th fastest.

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon finished 13th for Force India, with Felipe Massa in 14th place for Williams. The Brazilian driver only completed six laps in FP2 because his FW40 crawled to a halt at Turn 10 while he reported “the gear is not coming back”. It was later confirmed that the stoppage was caused by an electrical problem.

Marcus Ericsson was 15th fastest, but his session ended early when he lost the rear of his Sauber and spun off into the gravel at Turn 6 with just over five minutes of the day remaining. Lance Stroll was 16th in the second Williams, ahead of Vandoorne and the second Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein.

Kevin Magnussen finished in 19th place for Haas F1, but the Danish driver missed much of the session after the American team was alerted to a water temperature problem and called him in to investigate the problem. But he did get out late in the day and ended up with a total of eight laps.

Jolyon Palmer

That was four more than Magnussen’s former Renault team-mate Jolyon Palmer managed, as the British driver crashed his RS17 at the final corner during the early running. Palmer lost the rear of the car and slammed into the barrier before coming to rest in the middle of the track, which brought out the red flags, and he did not return to the session.

2017 Australian Grand Prix FP2 results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.620s, 34 laps
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.167s +0.547s, 35 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m24.176s +0.556s, 34 laps
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m24.525s +0.905s, 30 laps
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m24.650s +1.030s, 27 laps
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m25.013s +1.393s, 8 laps
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m25.084s +1.464s, 34 laps
8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1m25.436s +1.816s, 29 laps
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m25.478s +1.858s, 36 laps
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m25.493s +1.873s, 39 laps
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1m25.591s +1.971s, 35 laps
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m26.000s +2.380s, 19 laps
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 1m26.145s +2.525s, 37 laps
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1m26.331s +2.711s, 6 laps
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m26.498s +2.878s, 29 laps
16 Lance Stroll Williams 1m26.525s +2.905s, 27 laps
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m26.608s +2.988s, 33 laps
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1m26.919s +3.299s, 30 laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 1m27.279s +3.659s, 8 laps
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m27.549s +3.929s, 4 laps

What did you make of the Friday practice sessions at the Australian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

Toto Wolf’s “passionate ” of the table must have taken many hours of practise, yet it still wasn’t convincing.

2

I think we are in for a real race tomorrow. Vettel is more known for starts than Qualifying and was only 3 tenths back.

3

The engineer in me loves these PU’s, but have been finally convinced to change my mind about about their noise. There is something primal about unleashed sound pressure rattleing one’s dental fillings. These PU’s are violent beasts purring like house cats. Not lions tearing limbs from limb.

4

It’s looking very much like the same parade in roughly the same order. The only spoilers in the mix might be high G-forces, lots of rain, and the ability to upgrade without that Token system in play.

5

I think that the telling point that seems to have gone unnoticed, is that early in FP2, Hamilton matched (within 2 tenths) all of the front runners who were on SSofts while he was on Softs. So his performance was consistent throughout FP2.

I’ll also offer the thought as well, that we know little as to who is the best on fuel economy, which will probably be important towards the end of races this season. If the Merc is fuel efficient, then it’s another nail.

6
Bruce Hemmingway

in 2015 I saw Bottas doing things through Eau Rouge no one else was doing. Extraordinarily brave. Get ready to be surprised.

7

I hope he is ready:-)

8

Hamilton v Bottas: has anyone considered the gap might have been similar with Rosberg in the car? There was a feature from this site about the old pirelli tyre format limiting Hamilton more than any other driver. Not trying to to form a Hamilton church here, just saying the new format may well change inter team dominance. Even Alonso said he can now follow his aggressive turn in style that was not possible in the last few years…

9

I hope it will be different, this year!
Gets boring for you James, if you must write how amazing Hamilton is! Mercedes, Hamilton, Mercedes, Hamilton … there you have your variarition! Hamilton the best driver in the world, started every race… won every race, Mercedes not the best every time…but Hamilton made it………………………..

10

I take some exception to 95 percent of us want Hamilton to lose. If any of that is true, which I seriously doubt, then I stand amongst that 5 percent who would care to see him win every race. As for Bottas not being worthy, I would argue that he is an extremely talented driver who has to find his way on the team. Bottas by virtue of being in the best car, shall more than likely win 4 to 6 races this year with the first victory being most important in terms of his psychological development and sense of belonging. I look forward to a fascinating year in F1, with no idea who shall ultimately reign supreme, based on one friday practice.

11

If the McLaren performance was “encouraging” I wonder what disappointment would look like. Going round the circuit in reverse?

12

I think everyone needs to calm down for a second. Like testing, free practice times are never that representative of actual pace, what makes people think this has changed? Ferrari may not have gone for a proper quali sim, Mercedes maybe did with Hamilton to put the frighteners on everyone, if that’s what they did its working!

Also I said before, Melbourne has a habit of flattering certain cars and being a poor track for others, not sure why, if it’s the slippery seldom used street circuit or something else? We will get an accurate picture of where everyone’s at in China.

All that has happened is a confirmation of what we knew anyway, Mercedes have a strong package and Ferrari are next. Surprises for me were how much closer RB were compared to testing and that Mclaren are not at the back.

Carry on!

13

The more things change, the more they remain the same. With Mercedes seemingly much quicker than Ferrari (in the two FPs – who knows qualy they may turn up the hear further with their famed qualy map), it looks like a slam dunk for the WDC and WCC. The pace difference between HAM and BOT is what I (and many) expected, so I am thinking this could be HAM’s best F1 season ever. He could, even conservatively, win anywhere from 15-18 races this year, and that, I think, must put him as a favorite to get close to/beat the mighty Schumacher’s record of 91 wins – what with 20 or so races a season. this season could very well get him within a 1-2 season win tally of MS. Which at one time most people including me thought to be impossible. I may be jumping the gun a bit (hope I am proved wrong), but looks like this season is shot already from an ‘excitement’ perspective.

14

In case there was any ambiguity, this is what I refer to when I write, “Mercedes managing the championship”.
The illusion of the tests in Barcelona were that alone, management of the perceptions.

It does NOT look good for competition in 2017.

As previously speculated (some call it ‘conspiracy’), it appears that Mercedes has so much ‘in the bag’, i.e. a long ready stage of many upgrades, likely to almost all aspects of the car, including super-duper ‘extreme’ engine settings, THAT WE HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN YET!!!
Of course, their challenge, unlike everybody else’s is artistically pulling the ‘ready upgrades’ out of the bag, and strapping them on, so that the race is close to matching any of their competitor’s developments.

We’ve seen this before (recently).

15

I hate it to thank Lewis.
So my thanks go to Ferrari for not being closer to Lewis. With the loss of one hour because of switching to summer time and the race starting at 6am i will decide to sleep in my bed and not in front of the TV.

16

can you not watch it in bed?

17

Where in the world was Bernie Eclestone ?
Bernie was talking to the Sao Paulo Mayor about the Brazilian GP.
No official release about the meeting was post, but the current promoter has a running contract with FOM until 2020.

18
Tornillo Amarillo

Oh, be aware Max went wide onto the gravel, sustaining damage to the floor, he lost the practice time.

It was not Stroll, you see? I would be glade if some people recognize Lance -just 18 years old- is up to this opportunity and not just waiting his crash.
At least, some objectivity from some F1 fans who criticize.

19

oh that doesn’t look good for the season…if we have hamilton racing away with no sites of catching then f1 is seriously doomed this season…really bad for f1…
it is still a day early…but the signs dont like from ferrari garage that they have caught up with the mercs…
At least one thing can be seen that Rosberg was operating at a really high level…lets see how bottas manages to catch hamilton.

20

wait for the bulls to turn it on

21
Ricciardo Aficionado

Seeing as most of the action shots aren’t side on… Damn these cars look good! That intake on the Renault is racy!!

22

It was great to see the new sector timings available on live broadcast, with each sector further divided into sub-sectors and regularly updated to give a “projected” position.

I aware that the teams have access to more detailed data and even in the past, such thing would have been possible.

But, it looks like finally, someone has woken up and said, “you know what, a little more information to the fans wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Thumbs up to that.

Let’s just say, the liveries are a lot more colourful than they were last year. Wonder if the racing will be as well !!!

23

I don’t watch a movie if I know how it ends. On the other hand, a study by Leavitt & Christenfeld from the University of California has shown that story spoilers don’t actually spoil stories (https://phys.org/news/2016-05-spoiler-alertspoilers-stories.html). I found the results of the study very peculiar so I decided to check the paper. I looked immediately for the information on male/female number of participants, and, as expected there were 176 male and 643 female participants in the study (how is this study unbiased, you may wonder?). In conclusion, I think that female F1 fans are going to enjoy this season a lot.

24

James, Alex

Do you know who in each team has got the chassis/car from the testing in Barcelona and who has got a brand new one?

25
Alex Kalinauckas

Not sure of the specifics for each team, but you’ll find some interesting stuff here: https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2017/03/f1-insights-which-driver-has-to-race-the-f1-test-chassis-and-who-gets-a-new-one/

26

I’ve got an interesting one..

How far off from pole do you think the fastest Mclaren will be? Feel free to chime in James or Alex.

I’m going with 2.5 seconds.

27

That’s the amount of time just about all the cars will be off pole

28
Clarks4WheelDrift

I think 2.9 seconds, out in Q1, Alonso nails his lap.

Merc turn it up even further and track rubbers in a tiny bit more by Q3.

29

@Clarks4wheeldrift I think your guess is better then mine.. I was too optimistic ☺

30
Clarks4WheelDrift

“Encouragingly for McLaren,…”

Alonso, 2.4s per lap slower, 2 minutes 19 s down by the end of the race.

Stoff, 3s per lap slower, 2 minutes 54s down by the end of the race, lapped twice.

Sums up everything wrong with these PUs, again, in F1 2017.

It may be encouraging for McLaren that by being lapped twice, Stoff could give their sponsors a bit more coverage?! 😉

31

Interestingly enough, I think we now know the defining moment for Honda and Mclaren. Honda have just said they have a major hardware update that requires 2 months to complete, by June. Apparently this will provide a significant increase in power. Surely if this fails Mclaren will be in serious doubts.. but if it works, perhaps the entire team will be encouraged. I wonder how significant a jump is… significant.

32

Early days…

33

Lewis Hamilton set … a time just 0.091s slower than the fastest lap ever [at] Albert Park

Hamilton, who also topped the morning’s FP1 session, produced a best lap of 1m23.620s

Official lap record. (Race not quali, so not the fastest ever) 1:24.125 , MSC, 2004.
FP1 2016 fastest HAM 1:29.725. (FP2 2016 was slow, IIRC there was rain)
Pole 2016 HAM 1:25.3
Fastest race Lap RIC 1:28.997
FP 1 2017 fastest HAM 1:24.220
So pretty certain quali will see the fastest ever lap – somewhere in the high 1:19s I’d say , and whoever sets the fastest lap on race day will have a new lap record. But I doubt it will stand for the 13 years the Schumi’s has.

More important, the old cars were driven within the car limits and that turned out to be well inside the limits of the best drivers. Having the best car will always be an advantage, but now the driver makes more of a difference. Expect more drivers to exceed their own limits trying to stay on the pace.

Don’t be too quick to judge Bottas, but some people may have underestimated Rosberg

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