Fernando Alonso headed the second Formula 1 practice session of the Australian Grand Prix weekend as rain meant limited running was completed beyond the 20-minute mark.
> Alonso fastest after early rush of laps
> Perez faster on softs before hitting traffic
> Intermediate tyres needed for second half of session
> No-show for Sargeant after FP1 electrical issue
The majority of the field headed straight out at the start of FP2 with the threat of rain looming over the Albert Park circuit, albeit on a variety of different compounds.
Alonso – who has two podium finishes from two races at the start of the 2023 F1 season and was a threat for a top-three qualifying position in Melbourne last year – leapt to the top of the times as the rain began to fall with a best time of 1m18.887s.
That effort, set on the medium-compound tyres, put Aston Martin driver Alonso 0.445 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Championship leader and FP1 pacesetter Max Verstappen was third, but as in FP1 did not have an entirely clean session – skipping across the grass on his first run in the session.
George Russell made it four different cars in the top four in his Mercedes, setting his best time on hards, with the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz next up ahead of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
Sergio Perez was seventh but had been four tenths up on Alonso’s benchmark only to stumble across traffic. That proved to be his final shot at an improvement as the rain began to close in, preventing any meaningful improvements beyond the 15-minute mark.
Its arrival led to a lull in on-track activity for almost 10 minutes, and when cars did return to the track – Russell heading out on intermediates and Sainz on softs – they were only for exploratory laps.
That Ferrari choice proved to be better at that point but it was a small window as the rain soon intensified, which with 20 minutes to go eventually resulted in more cars taking to the track in more appropriate conditions for the intermediate compound.
Even then laps were limited, with two offs for Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll at a slippery Turn 3 right-hander – Stroll earlier having brushed the barrier through Turn 8 on the approach to the fast Turn 9/10 chicane – the most noteworthy moments.
Behind Perez, Lando Norris was eighth in his McLaren, six places but just two tenths faster than team-mate Oscar Piastri – who was the most committed of those to run on intermediates in the final part of the session.
Nico Hulkenberg continued his impressive single-lap form by setting the ninth-fastest time for Haas on hard tyres, with Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.
Yuki Tsunoda and Valtteri Bottas were next up, with the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton – second in FP1 – 13th.
Logan Sargeant was the only driver who did not complete any running for Williams.
He sat out the entire session as the team continued to investigate the electric issue that forced him to stop on track and ultimately led to a session-ending red flag in FP1.
Practice 2 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|1||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m18.887s|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m19.502s||+0.615s|
|7||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1m20.083s||+1.196s|
|11||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m20.22s||+1.333s|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m20.312s||+1.425s|
|15||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m20.47s||+1.583s|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m20.579s||+1.692s|
|17||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m20.6s||+1.713s|