Australian Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap

 

 

Event:  Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2

Date:  Friday, March 18

Location:  Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia

Layout:  5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn circuit

Weather:  Wet and overcast with only occasional bouts of sunshine

Temperature:  17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit)

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez

 

 

Gutiérrez:  18th quick (1:41.780), 8 laps completed

Grosjean:  20th quick (1:43.443), 6 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:29.725)

Most Laps:  Jenson Button of McLaren (16 laps)

 

 

Gutiérrez:  11th quick (1:42.891), 10 laps completed

Grosjean:  13th quick (1:43.731), 8 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:38.841)

Most Laps:  Pascal Wehrlein of Manor (25 laps)

 

 

It was a wet first day of on-track activity for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Both practice sessions on Friday took place amid intermittent showers, forcing drivers to primarily navigate the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn Albert Park Circuit on either the Pirelli Cinturato Blue full wet tire or the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire.

 

However, the first few minutes of the first practice were dry, allowing a handful of drivers to run slicks. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the first practice using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft.

 

Haas F1 Team logged a total of 32 laps between the two sessions – 14 laps in the first practice and 18 laps in the second practice. While not ideal racing conditions, the track time could prove helpful for qualifying on Saturday, as rain continues to be a part of the forecast.

 

 

“We had tricky weather for our first official practice sessions. It was a very good effort from all the guys to get out there on time at the beginning of P1. It was a very strong moment as well for Gene (Haas, team owner) and Guenther (Steiner, team principal), who have been working on the project for a long time. We became an official Formula One team today.

 

“The weather was tricky. We did a few laps on inters, but we just missed the opportunity to run the slicks. It looks like we could have a dry P3, so we can try to catch up and go from there tomorrow. I’m very proud of everyone and very proud to officially enter our name into the classification. I’m looking forward to a drier day tomorrow.”

 

 

“It’s amazing to finally be in Melbourne, running out on track and making history for the team. The guys have done a fantastic job to get everything ready. The conditions today have been variable. However, we ran as much as we could to get as much data as possible to prepare for Saturday. We’ve obviously got some work to do tonight to get everything sorted for tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

“It’s been a mixed day for us. During the first practice with the rain coming and going, we got some laps in but not as much as we’d hoped. However, we made the best out of the situation and made some progress. The second practice was very similar to the first one. We didn’t achieve as many laps as we wanted in the session, but we’ll utilize all the data we have and keep working hard as we head into tomorrow.”
 

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (14:00-15:00) before qualifying starts at 17:00. There, the new elimination-style format will debut, where the field of 22 drivers will be whittled down to just two, with those two drivers battling for the pole in the final 90 seconds.