Hamilton Edges Verstappen in FP2 at Albert Park


Lewis Hamilton remained in control of the Albert Park timesheets at the end of the second free practice session in Melbourne. However, the defending champion was closely shadowed by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, with the Dutch driver finishing just over a tenth of second behind his Mercedes rival.

After early sparring on the soft and supersoft tyres, the session’s qualifying simulations saw Hamilton charge to the front of the pack with a time of 1:23.931s set after had bolted on a set of Pirelli’s purple-banded ultrasoft tyres. Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two, two tenths down on Hamilton, but Verstappen soon split the Silver Arrows duo with a lap of 1:24.058 to end the session just 0.127s behind the champion.

Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen finished to fourth, 0.283s off the pace with team-mate Sebastian Vettel a further 0.237s behind in fifth place.

Haas again looked in good shape, with Romain Grosjean sixth in the second session and seven tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace.

Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull might have challenged for the top spots on the timesheet but the home favourite’s qualifying run was interrupted by a brief red flag caused by loose cabling on the start-finish straight.

Fernando Alonso reprised his FP1 achievement of eighth place, with the Spaniard finishing 1.269s adrift of Hamilton and just under five hundredths of a second clear of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne also matched his earlier efforts by taking 10th place in the session.

Elsewhere the only real drama occurred right at the end of the session when Williams’ Lance Stroll was force to stop on track after encountering trouble.

2018 Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 35 1:23.931
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 34 1:24.058 0.127
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1:24.159 0.228
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 39 1:24.214 0.283
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 38 1:24.451 0.520
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 34 1:24.648 0.717
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 28 1:24.721 0.790
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren 28 1:25.200 1.269
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 30 1:25.246 1.315
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 34 1:25.285 1.354
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 35 1:25.390 1.459
12 Sergio Perez Force India 30 1:25.413 1.482
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 35 1:25.463 1.532
14 Lance Stroll Williams 32 1:25.543 1.612
15 Esteban Ocon Force India 33 1:25.888 1.957
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 41 1:25.925 1.994
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 39 1:25.945 2.014
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 37 1:25.974 2.043
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 31 1:26.814 2.883
20 Charles Leclerc Sauber 35 1:26.815 2.884

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