Home Sport Leclerc’s Ferrari fastest in second practice at Australian GP

Leclerc’s Ferrari fastest in second practice at Australian GP

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Leclerc posted a flying lap of one minute, 17.277 seconds on soft tyres midway through the session, 0.381 seconds quicker than Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice. File Picture: REUTERS, Hamad I Mohammed

Ian Ransom, in MELBOURNE – Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets for Ferrari in the second free practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday after Williams driver Alex Albon wrecked his car in the first session with a crash at a familiar turn at Albert Park.

Leclerc posted a flying lap of one minute, 17.277 seconds on soft tyres midway through the session, 0.381 seconds quicker than Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

Leclerc’s time was more than a second faster than Lando Norris’s pace-setting lap (1:18.564) in the eventful first practice (FP1), which was halted in the last 20 minutes after Albon’s crash triggered a red flag.

The England-born Thai locked up and took a heavy shunt into the barrier at turn six then careened into the opposite barrier to damage both sides of his car and leave debris down a long section of the track.

It came a year after Albon crashed at the same turn on race-day, triggering one of three red flags.

Albon walked away from his car unharmed and apologised on the team radio. He missed FP2 as his team worked on his car, and Williams, who do not have a spare chassis in Melbourne, may be down a driver for the rest of the race weekend if unable to repair it.

Carlos Sainz made a successful return to his Ferrari race seat two weeks after surgery for appendicitis, posting the third fastest lap in FP2 after being eighth in FP1.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was fourth in FP2, ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso and sixth-quickest Mercedes driver George Russell.

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton reported trouble with his Mercedes in FP2, posting only the 18th fastest lap.

Both he and Russell had mishaps throughout the day, the pair skidding off track in the early session, while Russell complained about vibration in his steering rack.

Reuters

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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