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.
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 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 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.
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
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