Norris and Leclerc show up

Norris and Leclerc show up

Lando Norris (McLaren) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) won the first two free practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix.

Let’s go for the third round of the Formula 1 world championship! After two first Grands Prix contested on Saturday in the Middle East, the drivers headed to Australia, for a more classic schedule, with free practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday. Under the Melbourne sun, it was Lando Norris (McLaren) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) who won the first two free practice sessions, the Monegasque proving faster than the Briton. In the first session, Lando Norris completed 23 laps, including one in 1’18″564. He was ahead of triple world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) by 18 thousandths and his compatriot George Russell (Mercedes) by 33.

But the session lasted a little shorter than expected, due to the red flag displayed following the crash of Alexander Albon (Williams), who escaped unscathed. The Thai lost control of his car in turn 7 and crashed into the wall, which also prevented him from taking part in the second session. Lewis Hamilton (9th) and Max Verstappen experienced flat bottom problems, while George Russell, Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso made driving errors. For his return after his appendicitis operation, Carlos Sainz Jr took 8th place, well ahead of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon (15th) and Pierre Gasly (17th).

Hamilton and the two Frenchmen in difficulty

In the second, which was run in the wind, Charles Leclerc, fourth in the first session, completed 26 laps, including one in 1’17″277. He was quite ahead of Max Verstappen (who started the session 25 minutes late, while the mechanics worked on his Red Bull) by 381 thousandths and Carlos Sainz Jr by 430. The incident of the session came from Logan Sargeant, another Williams driver, who spun and narrowly avoided the barriers.

Only 18th, Lewis Hamilton admitted to having experienced “one of the worst sessions” due to adjustment problems. For the two Frenchmen from Alpine, the second session was no better than the first, Esteban Ocon finishing 15th and Pierre Gasly 17th. The third free practice session will take place on Saturday at 2:30 a.m. French time, and qualifying at 6:00 a.m.

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