Australian Grand Prix – Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the few dry minutes of the session before rain dampened the efforts for the majority of FP2.
As in FP1, it was Carlos Sainz who led the drivers out of the pits when the session started and the vast majority of cars headed out right away. It was a very cool, overcast Albert Park that greeted the drivers and it looked like rain would be a possibility.
Sainz opened the timing with a 1:20.378 and after the first ten minutes it was the other Spaniard on the grid in P1, Fernando Alonso the only driver into the 1:18s so far this session with a 1:18.887 just less than a tenth away from the best of FP1 which was Max Verstappen’s 1:18.790. Logan Sargeant was the only driver not to have appeared on track yet, Williams working on an electrical issue with the American’s car – most likely still trying to fix whatever caused him to stop on track at the end of FP1. Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon had been out but didn’t have any times at that stage.
A few minutes later though the predicted rain did start to appear while traffic was also a hazard for the drivers to contend with. At the twenty minute mark the track went silent as all cars retreated to their garages as it was too damp to improve times and that saw Lance Stroll skimming the wall and Lando Norris skidding through the grass at the first corner.
Just before the halfway point of the session the Ferrari and George Russell took to the track to gauge the conditions the scarlet cars on the red-ringed soft tyres while the Mercedes driver tried the intermediates, reporting that the track was currently too dry for that tyre however if the rain continues as it was then they would be the tyre of choice in a few minutes time.
Russell headed back to his garage after an outlap while the Ferraris stuck it out for another lap before returning to the pits and there were another silent few minutes before Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon decided to test the intermediates for a lap. And the next few minutes saw periods of silence broken by a car or two getting a feel for the intermediates in the slippery conditions.
With twenty minutes left on the clock a bigger group of cars took to the track and while three continued to be a presence on track for the remainder of the session, no times improved and so it ended with Alonso’s 1:18.887 as the fastest time ahead of Charles Leclerc and Verstappen. Russell was P4 with Sainz and Esteban Ocon the last of those within a second of Alonso. Sergio Perez took P7 in the second Red Bull with a 1:20.083 ahead of Norris, the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten. Sargeant didn’t emerge from the pits during the session.