Australian Grand Prix practice: Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two

Edd Straw
Hamilton leads Mercedes dominated practice two

Lewis Hamilton topped second free practice ahead of the 2019 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes.

Hamilton, using soft Pirellis, edged Bottas into second place by 0.048 seconds with a lap completed just after the halfway mark of the 90-minute session to secure the position.

So great was Hamilton's pace advantage that his timesheet-topping pace on the medium-compound Pirellis in the early stages of the session was quick enough to make sure of first place.

Max Verstappen was third fastest for Red Bull-Honda, eight tenths slower than Hamilton, after opting to delay his performance run to the closing stages of the session.

Verstappen set his time with 15 minutes remaining, having spent much longer circulating on medium rubber than everyone else earlier in the session, before slotting in ahead of new team-mate Pierre Gasly by 0.042s.

Pre-season pacesetter Ferrari had a subdued session, lapping well off the pace early on using medium-compound Pirellis, with Sebastian Vettel complaining over the radio that something felt wrong in Turns 1 and 4.

Vettel later bolted on softs and put in a lap of 1m23.473s to go fifth fastest, subsequently describing the car as "still a bit wobbly" over the radio.

Alfa Romeo newcomer Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest, a tenth behind Vettel, and just ahead of the two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

Charles Leclerc was down in ninth, 1.154s off the pace, in the second Ferrari, with Haas driver Romain Grosjean rounding out the top 10.

Leclerc also had a spin late in the session when he lost it on the exit kerb coming out of the Turn 4 left-hander. He was able to continue.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was 11th fastest ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen, with Racing Point's Lance Stroll 13th.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr also left it late to complete his performance run and was the penultimate driver to set his time.

It put him up to 14th place, just ahead of Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi - who had a spin on the entry to Turn 15 late in the session after touching the grass.

Hamilton leads Mercedes dominated practice two

Alex Albon was 17th, one place behind the second Racing Point of Sergio Perez, and followed up his practice one crash with a run through the gravel mid-session then a similar spin to Giovinazzi's late on.

Lando Norris was 18th in the second McLaren, 1.7s clear of the fastest of the Williams - that of rookie George Russell, who had a trip through the gravel at Turn 3 in the closing stages.

Robert Kubica was slowest, two tenths behind Russell, in another difficult session for Williams.

Practice two times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.600s - 33
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m22.648s 0.048s 33
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m23.400s 0.800s 33
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 1m23.442s 0.842s 31
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m23.473s 0.873s 35
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m23.572s 0.972s 40
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m23.574s 0.974s 37
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m23.644s 1.044s 31
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m23.754s 1.154s 35
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m23.814s 1.214s 37
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m23.933s 1.333s 36
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m23.988s 1.388s 27
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m24.011s 1.411s 38
14 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1m24.133s 1.533s 26
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m24.293s 1.693s 37
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m24.401s 1.801s 34
17 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m24.675s 2.075s 40
18 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m24.733s 2.133s 26
19 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m26.453s 3.853s 32
20 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m26.655s 4.055s 33

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