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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc beats Verstappen to top spot in second practice

Charles Leclerc has set the fastest time of the Australian Grand Prix weekend so far, with Max Verstappen having to settle for second place.

Leclerc Australia
Article
To news overview © Ferrari / Twitter

The second practice session at Albert Park ended with two familiar names at the top of the times, as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen to top spot.

The second session of the day took place under overcast skies, with some rain threatening to hit the circuit as the one hour of track time began.

With the drivers quickly switching to the Soft (C5) tyres to tackle their qualifying simulation runs, Carlos Sainz picked up where he left off in the morning by setting the fastest time in his Ferrari, but he was quickly beaten by Alpine's Fernando Alonso.

This resulted in a fun tete-a-tete as Sainz went quicker again, before Leclerc popped in a 1:18.978 to become the first driver to dip below a 1:19 minute lap time. However, it was very noticeable that Leclerc was struggling with quite a lot of porpoising on his F1-75.

Leclerc's time went unbeaten until the chequered flag, as he finished a quarter of a second clear of Verstappen. The reigning World Champion didn't appear completely happy with the handling of his car, complaining about a lack of grip early on in the session, but was able to wind up his pace to finish with a 1:19.223.

Alonso finished the session in fourth behind Sainz, having managed to pop himself ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, while teammate Esteban Ocon finished sixth.

Result Free practice 2 - Australian

Pos. Driver Team Time
Results are being loaded...

Mercedes outside the top 10

With Alpine joining in the battle of the upper midfield, the absence of Mercedes from the top 10 was particularly noticeable.

George Russell finished the session in 11th, with his best time on the Softs 1.2 seconds away from the front, while Lewis Hamilton was a further three-tenths of a second back on the same compound.

There was bad news for the Mercedes-powered Aston Martin team as well, as Sebastian Vettel wasn't able to take part in the session following his FP1 stoppage.

While the team worked frantically to get his car ready, the AMR22 couldn't be prepared in time to send the German driver out on track.

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F1 2022 Australian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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