F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024 FP2 highlights: Leclerc beats Verstappen in Friday practice

Follow the action LIVE as F1 teams and drivers take to the Albert Park Circuit for FP2 at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix

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Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com Live Blog for Free Practice 2 at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the paddock at the Albert Park Circuit. As the Formula 1 season continues Down Under, join us for real-time updates, expert commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights into every thrilling moment of the action from FP2 in Melbourne

Free Practice 2 plays a crucial role for teams in refining their configurations and collecting important data. It’s accompanied by its own set of forecasts and expectations.

And as it proved, Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen by nearly four tenths of a second as Ferrari showed their true potential in Melbourne, with Carlos Sainz rounding out the top three.

Join our live blog for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Australian GP 2024 FP2 – As it happened


Goodbye!

So that’s it from us for today. Do join us again for FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.

For now, get back to bed for a nap as we prepare for another early wake-up on Saturday. Bye for now!

FP2: CHECKERED FLAG – Leclerc fastest

Well, that’s a very interesting top-10 isn’t it. Leclerc in a league of his own with a cracking lap ahead of Verstappen and Sainz.

Hamilton down in 18th and that’s not what Mercedes wanted at all.

1 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:17.277

2 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.381

3 Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.430

4 Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +0.545

5 Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +0.635

6 George Russell, Mercedes, +0.674

7 Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +0.800

8 Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.813

9 Lando Norris, McLaren, +0.870

10 Yuki Tsunoda, RB, +0.911

RADIO: Hamilton raises fears

Hamilton radios in to ask about his pace on the long runs, and he’s a long way off matching the Ferraris.

The 39-year-old sounds very concerned about his car’s lack of pace after a horrible session.

Hamilton: “What times are other people doing?”

Engineer: “Leclerc did a 22.8, medium tyre.”

Hamilton: “Yeah, something’s wrong.”

Leclerc goes off onto the grass

Leclerc gets a snap of oversteer and his Ferrari temporarily becomes the world’s most expensive lawnmower as he cuts across the grass.

A small blot on a fantastic session for the Scuderia driver. It’s looking hopeful ahead of FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.

FP2: FINAL 10 MINS

Verstappen goes quicker to split the Ferraris, but he’s still a long way off Leclerc’s lap. With every time posted, that 1:17.277 is looking very tasty indeed.

Sargeant has had another moment, this time at Turn 1. And every time that Williams ventures off the track, James Vowles’ heart will be skipping a beat.

Hamilton struggling again

What has happened to Lewis Hamilton in this session. He’s absolutely miles off the pace.

The Mercedes star is currently 18th and a 1.5 seconds off the pace, despite putting on the soft tyre. Only Kevin Magnussen and the absent Albon are beneath him in the timings.

Yes, it’s only practice. But FP2 is not the time to be struggling for pace – this is when you want to start finding time in the high-speed corners. So far, he hasn’t.

Ferrari dominant

There’s one car above the rest at the moment and it seems we’re finally seeing the true potential of this Ferrari SF-24 from Leclerc.

The Monegasque is four tenths clear of his team-mate Sainz as the Prancing Horse lead with a 1-2 in FP2. Let’s just say though, Sainz had actual appendix surgery two weeks ago so…

But here comes Verstappen on the soft tyre for the first time. And it’s only P3 for the Red Bull star. Wow.

Verstappen blocked by Zhou

Verstappen is on a timed lap when he approaches Turn 3 and finds a Sauber in his way. Naturally, the Red Bull vented his frustration on the radio with a few expletives for equal measure.

But Zhou was pretty much blameless in that incident as he got a late call from his engineer:

Engineer: “Verstappen behind.”

Zhou: “Yeah, too late bro.”

FP2: 30 MINS TO GO

Here’s the order with half of the session in the history books:

1 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:17.423

2 Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +0.399

3 Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +0.489

4 George Russell, Mercedes, +0.528

5 Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.543

6 Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +0.654

7 Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.667

9 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.787

10 Zhou Guanyu, Sauber, +0.998

Verstappen locks up

Well, that didn’t go to plan for Verstappen. No purple sectors (yet) on the medium tyre, and at the penultimate corner, he looks up the front left.

Not the session he would have wanted so far. Let’s see how he does on the soft.

Soft tyre runs begin; Verstappen imminent

Alonso sticks on the soft tyre and sets the fastest first sector time of anybody in the session.

But the Spaniard lost time as the lap went on and it’s only enough to go second-fastest.

Some good news for Verstappen fans: the helmet is on and he’s due to come out of the garage any moment now.

FP2 – 40 MINS TO GO: Leclerc breaks new ground

Lando Norris has gone quickest on a 1:18.201 on the medium tyre, before Charles Leclerc beats that time by three tenths to go into the 1:17s.

Logan Sargeant just had an almighty scare after touching the gravel, which sent him into a spin and somehow he didn’t collide with the car in front or the barrier. A very close shave for Williams there.

Verstappen is the only driver taking part in the session yet to set a time as Red Bull continue to work on his car.

More trouble for Albon

Williams have confirmed they do not have a spare chassis on site for Albon.

That makes the rebuild job much even tougher and we’ll have to keep an eye on whether they can fix the damage in time for him to make qualifying tomorrow.

Martin Brundle, speaking from the track for Sky Sports F1, thinks Albon should take Logan Sargeant’s place in the race if they only have one.

“It’s an absolute no brainer that if you’ve only got one car you’d put Alex Albon in it,” he said.

Alonso sets early pace

The first runs are on the timing board and every driver on the track has put on the medium compound tyre.

After a messy session in FP1 for Fernando Alonso, he goes quickest on the medium tyre and his team-mate Lance Stroll goes two tenths behind him. An Aston Martin 1-2!

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, had a moment at Turn 1 and it’s fair to say he doesn’t look comfortable with the balance of the W15.

portrait, Bahrain International Circuit, F124T01a, F1, GP, Bahrain Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Issues for Verstappen

Well, this is a rarity in itself. Max Verstappen is still in the garage as Red Bull try to fix his floor after his minor trip off the tarmac in FP1.

According to Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz, Verstappen will miss some early track time. That’s an interesting one for the rest of the teams, who will be looking to make that count.

FP2 GREEN LIGHT: We’re underway!

Here we go then!

The cars are out of the garage straight away and it’s Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez who decide to lay down some rubber.

Record day in Melbourne

We’ve just heard from Sky Sports commentator David Croft that organisers for the Australian GP have sold a record number of tickets for a Friday. That’s very encouraging to see, and the spectators have been rewarded with some glorious weather in Melbourne.

Let’s hope for another action-packed session to close out the day.

Sainz comes through unscathed

One driver who looks set to take part in the session, however, is Carlos Sainz.

There were doubts as to whether the Spaniard would be able to compete in the full race weekend, but he managed to post a decent lap in FP1 and seemingly did so without too much discomfort.

We’ve not heard anything from Ferrari to suggest otherwise, so it seems the 29-year-old will be in the car.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc at the 2024 Bahrain GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Carlos Sainz is back in the car. | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Confirmed: Albon to miss FP2

Alex Albon will not be taking part in FP2 after the Williams star suffered a terrifying high-speed shunt at the exit of Turn 6.

Fortunately, the Thai-British driver walked away unhurt. But the damage has proved to be too vast for the mechanics to fix in time for FP2, so Albon will be forced to watch the session from the garage.

Long runs to come

What can we expect from FP2? Well, probably not as close a session as we were treated to in FP1.

In total, 14 cars were within a second of the time set by Lando Norris, a 1:18.564 on the soft tyre. The top eight were split by just over two tenths, which is remarkable given what we’ve seen recently in qualifying.

But FP2 usually sees the teams work on their long run pace and test out the harder compounds for race durability, so we’re likely to see some varying lap times down the grid.

Rise and shine!

Good morning and welcome to Total Motorsport’s live coverage of the FP2 session at the Australian Grand Prix!

Get the kettle on because as you know, the time difference means it’s a very early start for viewers in the UK and Europe. But it’s all worth it… to see Max Verstappen top the timing screens for the umpteenth time.

In case you were sound asleep, here’s what happened in FP1 earlier today…

Detailed 2024 Australian GP Session Times and Dates

Pirelli tyre preview for 2024 Australian GP | Pirelli
Pirelli tyre preview for 2024 Australian GP | Pirelli

The F1 season continues with the 2024 Australian Grand Prix. Below, find the complete schedule for the race weekend, including session times for viewers in the USA, the UK, Canada, as well as local time in Australia.

SessionDayAus. (AEDT)UK (GMT)US (ET)US (PT)
Practice 1Fri, Mar 2212:3001:3021:30*18:30*
Practice 2Fri, Mar 2216:0005:0001:0022:00*
Practice 3Sat, Mar 2312:3001:3021:30*18:30*
QualifyingSat, Mar 2316:0005:0001:0022:00
RaceSun, Mar 2415:0004:0000:0021:00*

*Previous Day

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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