F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024 FP1 highlights: Norris tops intriguing Friday morning session

Follow the action as F1 teams and drivers take to the Albert Park Circuit for FP1 at the 2024 Australian GP

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Welcome to our coverage of the Free Practice 1 session at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the heart-pounding turns of 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 FP1 in Melbourne

The Practice 1 session is crucial for teams to fine-tune their setups and gather valuable data, comes with its own set of expectations and predictions. As the engines roar and cars line up at the pit exit, the air is thick with anticipation. Will the reigning champions Red Bull continue to dominate, or will we witness the challengers rise to the occasion?

Stay tuned as the session unfolds from Albert Park as Round 3 of the 2024 F1 season gets underway in Australia, and join us for Free Practice 2 from the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

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

Australian GP 2024 FP1 – Updates and news


FP1 ENDS: McLaren on top down under

FP1 left more questions than answers as Lando Norris topped an unusually competitive session, even by ground effect era standards, with a 1:18.564, just 1.4 seconds quicker than last place.

In total, 14 cars were within a second of the McLaren’s benchmark time and notably, eight of them were within just over two tenths of Norris’s soft-tyre lap.

Firstly came Verstappen (0.018), then Russell (0.033 on mediums), Leclerc (0.035), Tsunoda (0.057, mediums), Perez (0.078), Stroll (0.103, mediums), Sainz (0.122) and Hamilton (0.207).

The drivers were testing the limits too. Verstappen, Russell and Hamilton were some who made mistakes but got away with them whilst Alex Albon didn’t have the same fortune as he lost his car at Turn 7 and was a passenger as it slammed into the wall.

It broke the front-right suspension and probably the rear-left but the majority of the car was intact so he should be able to compete in FP2 later today.

Here are the results.

Perez ruins his own lap

Perez does great work through every corner on the track until the second to last one as he sets two personal bests but as he enters the very slow Turn 15, he locks up and that’s his chance of passing Lando Norris gone for that lap.

Red Bull definitely has more pace than they’re showing.

Mercedes are really struggling

Lewis Hamilton has eight career poles around this circuit but that’s not going to become nine in 2024 as they are seriously struggling to get the rear of their car under control.

The experienced head starts a qualifying lap and doesn’t even make it past Turn 1 as the rear snaps on him, as it did to Russell earlier, and he has to bail out across the grass.

GREEN FLAG: NINE MINUTES TO GO: Four cars within a tenth

The session is back underway and Lando Norris leads FP1 with a 1:18.564 and he is very closely followed by Leclerc (0.035), Tsunoda (0.057) and Perez (0.078) who are all within a tenth of the British race.

If you add Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen to the picture, that’s six cars within 0.106 of each other.

RED FLAG: ALEX ALBON CRASHES OUT

The Williams driver is out of the car and seems to be okay. The accident didn’t look to be particularly bad based on the damage to the car, which has only really lost the front-right suspension.

Albon lost the car over the kerbs at the exit of Turn 8 and as it bottomed out, it threw him straight into the contract barrier.

That’s his session over until later on today.

Bottas does the same as Russell literally moments later

Perhaps Sauber didn’t get to warn Valtteri Bottas of Russell’s scary moment as he does the same thing moments later but does actually lose the car into a complete spin as he locks up his tyres.

Big moment for George Russell!

The Mercedes driver is on a good lap and was up on Norris in the second sector but as he turns into the rapid Turn 11 and 12 sequence, the rear snaps on him and he almost loses the car completely.

Fortunately for his team, he keeps it together and only loses the lap time.

25 MINUTES TO GO: It’s still Norris on top in what is a particularly close session

Norris has a 1:18.564 on the board as he leads Lance Stroll by a tenth but then Verstappen, Perez and Leclerc are all within 0.350 of the McLaren driver’s pace.

Tight session so far. In fact, it’s highlighted by 14th place only being 1.1 seconds off the lead time.

Norris has reliability worries

We haven’t heard much about Lando Norris so far but he’s just called in to ask the team to check his floor as he reported bottoming out in one of the faster corners.

It doesn’t seem to have hurt his pace too much as he goes fastest, ahead of Verstappen by 0.106 with a 1:18.564.

Good news for Mercedes, they’re back to normal

After struggling with brakes during the opening part of the session, George Russell has radioed in to say that they feel “much better” than earlier.

Russell is 13th, 1.3 seconds of Verstappen’s pace.

20 MINUTES GONE: Verstappen king of the hill

As mentioned slightly earlier, Verstappen is fastest by around half a second to his next two challengers and he is currently 2.2 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton who is in 15th with brake issues.

Leclerc is 0.440 back in second, followed by Perez (0.568) and Oscar Piastri, the home hero, who is 0.708 back for McLaren.

Ferrari vs Red Bull is the order of the day

Perez and Charles Leclerc are going blow to blow at the top of the timing charts as they keep trading times but here comes Max Verstappen and he goes fastest by 0.440 running the softs.

The Dutchman set a 1:18.670, he’s almost six tenths faster than his teammate so far. Can anyone stop him this weekend?

Perez vs. Tsunoda vs. Ricciardo for the 2025 Red Bull seat

The three Red Bull contracted drivers sit 5th, 6th and 7th in the timing charts with Tsunoda heading the trio so far whilst Perez is in the middle.

With the chance of a Red Bull drive in 2025, the RB boys will be well up for the challenge although Ricciardo is trying to insist he isn’t actually thinking about it so far.

10 minutes gone: Stroll tops the charts

Obviously we’re at the very start of the first free practice session of the weekend so none of the times are actually worth anything but for what it’s worth, Lance Stroll goes fastest with a 1:19.858 for Aston Martin.

He beats Sergio Perez by a tenth of a second despite the Mexican using a softer tyre compound.

Double trouble for the Silver Arrows

Minutes after George Russell reports a long brake pedal to Mercedes, his teammate is on the radio reporting the same issue.

Lewis Hamilton will be thinking about that Ferrari seat a lot sooner than he insists if Mercedes can’t get on top of basic problems such as this when they arrive to a track…

The track is busy early on

14 cars are out on track at the moment, including Max Verstappen.

Verstappen is notorious for emerging very late from his garage, which underlines the importance of FP1 as the teams seek to use every second they can around the Albert Park Circuit.

The six cars in the pits are Bottas, Sargeant, Magnussen, Albon, Hulkenberg and Sainz.

Problems for Mercedes…

Mercedes came into the weekend with a lot of hope that they would finally be able to realise the potential of their car after discovering their simulator was incorrectly calibrated, costing them in the region of a second per lap according to the team.

But just three minutes into the session, George Russell is already complaining about vibrations through his steering rack as well as a long brake pedal.

Will they have another weekend of pain?

GREEN FLAG: The 2024 Australian Grand Prix weekend officially begins

Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin is the first car out on track as it runs aerodynamic testing rakes between the cockpit and front wheels. The team has something they want to investigate early into the weekend.

FP1 lasts for one hour and will allow drivers to get a feel for how the track is behaving as they return there for the first time in a whole year.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem is a free man

The President of the FIA was under investigation for race-fixing. Here’s why he got off without any punishment in relation to the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix…

Sauber will look a little different

Here’s why the team have had to drop one of their primary sponsors for the 2024 Australian GP

What is the history of the Australian Grand Prix?

The Australian Grand Prix, a Formula One race, has been a prominent fixture on the F1 calendar since 1985.

It has been held at various locations, including Adelaide, Melbourne, and occasionally other cities. Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit has been the race’s main venue since 1996, offering a challenging street circuit layout that is very high-speed and rewards aerodynamic efficiency.

The Australian Grand Prix traditionally served as the season opener until 2021 when it was replaced by Bahrain, and it attracts fans from around the world to witness intense racing action and over the years, it has provided memorable moments and thrilling races, solidifying its status as one of the most anticipated events on the F1 calendar.

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

Detailed 2024 Australian GP Session Times and Dates

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

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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