Australian GP: Charles Leclerc fastest from Max Verstappen in second practice with big Alex Albon crash in first session | F1 News

Charles Leclerc was quickest from Max Verstappen in second practice on a dramatic Friday at the Australian Grand Prix.

Leclerc was 0.381s ahead of Verstappen, whose day was far from straightforward after damaging his floor in first practice.

Ferrari will also be encouraged to see Carlos Sainz in third after he returned from successful appendix surgery which forced him to miss the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The other key moment was Alex Albon’s massive crash during first practice as he went off in the high-speed first sector and hit two walls.

Albon missed second practice but Williams do not have a spare chassis, so should his car require a new one, the team may only have one car for the remainder of the weekend.

Several other drivers also had offs but managed to avoid the walls, including Lewis Hamilton who didn’t appear to be happy with his Mercedes as he finished ninth and 18th in the two sessions.

Hamilton went wide at Turn 10 on more than one occasion and also had a trip through the grass at the first chicane, underlining his dissatisfaction with his car.

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A look at the moment Max Verstappen damaged his car floor, delaying him from starting Practice Two

Norris quickest in first practice

Earlier in the day, Lando Norris was fastest in an eventful first practice in Melbourne from Verstappen with the top six cars split by less than one tenth of a second.

Norris set the quickest time of the session before Albon had his big crash at the fast Turns 6 and 7, rebounding off the wall which brought out a red flag with 20 minutes to go.

Several drivers made mistakes, particularly at the quick right-hander of Turn 10 with Fernando Alonso the first car to make a trip across the gravel and damaged his floor.

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Fernando Alonso misses the apex and finds the gravel at Turn 10 in practice one

Hamilton and Verstappen also went wide at the same corner near the end of the session and both reported floor damage.

Verstappen’s second-place time was set as the chequered flag fell and he was only 0.018s slower than Norris.

George Russell was third, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, RB’s Yuki Tsunoda and the Red Bull of Perez but track conditions were unrepresentative as the circuit sped up during the session.

Sky Sports F1’s live Australian GP schedule

The third round of the 2024 F1 season takes place on Sunday, with lights out at 4am on Sky Sports F1
The third round of the 2024 F1 season takes place on Sunday, with lights out at 4am on Sky Sports F1

Saturday March 23

  • 0.10am: F3 Sprint
  • 1.10am: Australian GP Practice Three (session starts at 1.30am)
  • 3.10am: F2 Sprint
  • 4.15am: Australian GP Qualifying build-up
  • 5am: Australian GP Qualifying
  • 7am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
  • 7.30am: Australian GP Qualifying highlights
  • 8.30am: Australian GP Qualifying replay (Sky Showcase)
  • 10.30am: Australian GP Qualifying replay
  • 10pm: F3 Feature Race

Sunday March 24

  • 0.30am: F2 Feature Race
  • 3am: Australian GP build-up: Grand Prix Sunday
  • 6am: Australian GP reaction: Chequered flag
  • 7am: Ted’s Notebook
  • 7.30am: Australian GP highlights
  • 8.30am: Australian GP build-up: Grand Prix Sunday replay
  • 9.30am: Australian GP race replay
  • 10am: Australian GP highlights (Sky Showcase)
  • 11.30am: Australian GP reaction: Chequered flag replay

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, with Sunday’s race live on Sky Sports F1 at 4am. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – no contract, cancel anytime

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