Fernando Alonso topped a wet second practice session ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, showcasing all his skill to navigate the tricky conditions to lead Charles Leclerc by nearly half a second.
Amazingly, the two-time world champion’s fastest effort was only a fraction slower than the pace set by Max Verstappen on the soft tyres in FP1 in the dry.
Alonso’s benchmark of 1:18.887 on the intermediate tyres saw him finish 0.445 seconds clear of Leclerc, who continues to head up the Ferrari charge.
Verstappen took third, a further two tenths behind, with George Russell the lead Mercedes in fourth.
Carlos Sainz was fifth in another nondescript session for the Spaniard, ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez in sixth and seventh respectively.
For Perez, he’ll be hoping to bounce back on Saturday after two sessions to forget Down Under.
Lando Norris dragged his McLaren to eighth, with Nico Hulkenberg a welcome top-10 addition at ninth for Haas.
Rounding out the top 10 was Pierre Gasly, who seems to be finding his feet now at Alpine.
Elsewhere, Lewis Hamilton finished 13th, nearly 1.5s behind Alonso.
Rain to throw a Saturday spanner in the works?
The forecast for the 2023 Australian GP has been accurate so far and suggests more rain could be on the way on Saturday.
Temperatures are set to drop for the weekend action at Albert Park and showers are anticipated in the morning for FP3.
However, should they stick around for qualifying, it could set up Sunday’s dry race for some fireworks.
It would also mean teams and drivers won’t have anywhere near as much slick-tyre data to inform the set-up of the car, which could also shake things up.