until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Everything that happened in first Australian GP F1 practice

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Carlos Sainz led a Ferrari 1-2 in a twice red-flagged first Australian Grand Prix practice session as the Formula 1 field learned the new-style Melbourne.

Key moments

– Sainz fastest by nearly 0.6s over Leclerc
– Lost bodywork from Perez’s car causes red flag
– Apparent engine failure for Vettel

World champion Max Verstappen had been quickest for the opening portion of the session, the Red Bull using soft tyres sooner than most of its rivals.

Once Ferrari was on softs too, its drivers Charles Leclerc and Sainz swapped the top spot multiple times with Verstappen at first.

But then Sainz put in a 1m19.806s lap that pulled him 0.571s clear of his team-mate and stood as the best of the session.

That time was also six tenths of a second faster than the 2019 pole at the circuit, showing the speed gain from the corner reprofiling carried out for this season with the aim of improving the racing at Albert Park.

Behind the Ferrari 1-2, a late leap from Sergio Perez put him ahead of Verstappen in a Red Bull 3-4.

Lando Norris’s McLaren and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine were best of the rest, with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell seventh and 12th.

The session was interrupted by two brief red flags.

The first came when Perez’s Red Bull deposited a small part of its underside on the exit of the final corner.

Then returnee Sebastian Vettel – making his 2022 race debut this weekend after COVID ruled him out of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia – reported a failure in the Mercedes engine in his Aston Martin.

He had already told his struggling team that the car’s porpoising level didn’t feel sustainable.

Once Vettel had parked his car in the revised fast section at the back of the circuit, he grabbed a fire extinguisher during the consequent red flag to tackle the smouldering Aston Martin.

Championship leader Leclerc was among the drivers having minor incidents in the session, in his case shooting through the Turn 1 gravel on an out-lap straight after a practice start in the pitlane.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Practice Day Melbourne, Australia

Kevin Magnussen visited the gravel at Turn 3 and Fernando Alonso spun his Alpine in the final sector.

Possible impeding incidents involving Magnussen and Lance Stroll, and Zhou Guanyu and Sainz, will be investigated post-session.

Another in which Stroll accused Hamilton of blocking him was swiftly checked by the stewards, who felt no action was required.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m19.806s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m20.377s +0.571s
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m20.399s +0.593s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m20.626s +0.82s
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.878s +1.072s
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m21.004s +1.198s
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m21.027s +1.221s
8 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.155s +1.349s
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m21.229s +1.423s
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m21.247s +1.441s
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m21.289s +1.483s
12 George Russell Mercedes 1m21.457s +1.651s
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m21.661s +1.855s
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m21.701s +1.895s
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m21.821s +2.015s
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m21.869s +2.063s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m22.754s +2.948s
18 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m22.754s +2.948s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m23.924s +4.118s
20 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m24.349s +4.543s
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