The Dutchman clocked a time of 1m 18.790s, showing impressive pace and confidence as he topped the timesheets. Perez encountered a setback, however, when his car lost GPS signal and he finished the session without setting a time on the red-marked rubber. Despite this, the Mexican driver continued to show promise with his pace on the medium tyres.
Verstappen’s performance in the opening practice session set a high bar for his rivals and demonstrated Red Bull’s continued competitiveness on the circuit. Hamilton will no doubt be looking to close the gap in the next practice session, while Perez will be eager to put his earlier setback behind him and continue to challenge for a top position on the grid at Albert Park Circuit.
Red Bull continued their strong form from the previous races, with Verstappen heading straight out on soft tyres and leading the opening exchanges. Perez began his session on mediums.
Red Bull and Mercedes Unveil Latest Upgrades Ahead of Melbourne Grand Prix
Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull and Mercedes both introduced upgrades to their cars in a bid to improve their performance on the track. Red Bull’s changes included a new front wing endplate, additional front wing modifications, and a rear-end bodywork tweak aimed at aiding cooling. Meanwhile, Mercedes made updates to their W14 with updated floor edge vanes.
During the practice session, Max Verstappen encountered some technical difficulties with “terrible” gear shifts and rear brake issues. The Dutchman also experienced a spin at Turn 4 late in the session, demonstrating the challenges that teams face in fine-tuning their cars for each track.
Despite Verstappen’s setbacks, he still managed to finish ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez, whose best time came on the medium tyres. Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, split the two Red Bulls with a late improvement on the soft tyres. Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Aston Martin, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz following closely in their Ferraris. Lando Norris’ McLaren finished seventh, while Pierre Gasly’s Alpine, George Russell’s Mercedes, and Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin rounded out the top ten.
Albert Park’s Rainy FP2 Sees Alonso Claim Fastest Time
In the second free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso clocked the quickest lap before the rain poured down on Albert Park, with Charles Leclerc following in second for Ferrari and Max Verstappen taking third for Red Bull. While no one was able to surpass Verstappen’s time from the earlier session, several drivers had their first taste of the 2023 cars on the damp track during the afternoon, relishing the challenge and testing the limits of their new machines.