Aus GP FP2: Fernando Alonso hits the front before the rain arrives in Melbourne

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso puts in the laps in the AMR23. Australia March 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso puts in the laps in the AMR23. Australia March 2023

Fernando Alonso pipped Charles Leclerc to P1 in Friday’s FP2 running for the Australian Grand Prix but it was a session that saw just 20 minutes of dry action.

With rain on the horizon there was a mad dash to get out of the pits with Lando Norris perhaps too keen as he had a tank-slapper as he exited the McLaren garage, the rear swinging out on him.

One driver not heading out immediately was Logan Sargeant as his earlier electric problem meant Williams were still working on his FW45 when the pit lane light went green.

As with FP1 it was Carlos Sainz who put in the opening gambit, a 1:20.3, before upping that as he put in the laps on the medium Pirellis. But his stay in P1 was short-lived with Alonso blitzing his time by eight-tenths of a second.

In blustery conditions as the wind brought the rain ever closer, even the best were struggling with Lewis Hamilton flying across the grass and Verstappen doing the same a few minutes later at Turn 1. Verstappen: “It’s so sensitive, you quickly lose the rear.” And then he went P2, before losing that to Leclerc.

Traffic was again a nightmare with Perez being held up, having to back off having been four-tenths up in the first sector. “Ah f**k sake, traffic is horrendous,” he declared. His team-mate and Sainz also having a moment.

And then the rain arrived, “quite a bit” according to George Russell with everyone but Kevin Magnussen returning to the pits. He stayed out of trouble on his way to a 1:21.2 prompting other drivers – including pace-setter Alonso – to join the action. recommends

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Norris went slipping and sliding off the track at Turn 1, a trip through the gravel for the McLaren driver, while Alonso cut the grass and Lance Stroll brushed the wall. The conditions had the drivers heading back into the pits.

Russell came back out on a set of intermediate tyres but pitted after one lap, Leclerc and Sainz both going with softs although they too were back in the pits after just one lap.

As the rain continued and the track crossed over to intermediate tyre conditions most of the drivers ventured out for a few laps, although Nyck de Vries opted against it. Stroll went sliding and in the process of correcting came within inches the wall. On his next lap he chugged across the gravel.

The session ended with Alonso’s medium tyre lap the fastest of all, a 1:18.887, with Leclerc second, 0.4s down, and Verstappen a further two-tenths back in third. Sargeant didn’t go out at all, the rookie missing vital track time.


1 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin 1:18.887
2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.445
3 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.615
4 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.785
5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.808
6 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.838
7 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +1.196
8 Lando NORRIS McLaren +1.289
9 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +1.307
10 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.319
11 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +1.333
12 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +1.425
13 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.436
14 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +1.493
15 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1.583
16 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.692
17 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +1.713
18 Alexander ALBON Williams +2.295
19 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +2.379
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams no time