Lewis Hamilton dominates practice, Ferrari 0.5s behind
Australian Grand Prix Free Practice 2

Lewis Hamilton dominates practice, Ferrari 0.5s behind

23/03/2017

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton maintained his perfect start to 2017 by again setting the benchmark pace in second practice at Albert Park.

Hamilton, who also topped the timesheets in FP1 earlier in the day, went even quicker in the afternoon finishing with the day's best time of 1:23.620, 0.217s faster than his 2016 pole position lap. The session had earlier been red flagged after Jolyon Palmer lost control of his Renault on the final corner, sending him spinning into the barriers. The Briton walked away unscathed but ensured a late night's work for his mechanics.

After spending the majority of FP1 in the garage, Ferrari showed more intent to get some mileage under their belt. Sebastian Vettel completed 35 laps and was second fastest, albeit 0.547s behind Hamilton. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen was four tenths further back in fourth place but he too will be pleased after turning in 30 competitive laps.

Valtteri Bottas, who joined Mercedes in the off-season, managed to split the Ferraris but still seems to be finding his feet with his new team. The Finn was unable to get close to his teammate's blistering pace and eventually settled for third fastest with a time of 1:24.176.

Many teams opted to test out additional compounds in the second session. Mercedes managed some laps on the soft tyre while Red Bull ventured onto the ultra-softs for the first time. However, neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Max Verstappen were able to get within a second of Hamilton's Silver Arrow and ended a mixed day fifth and sixth respectively.

Carlos Sainz continued to have the edge over Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat and finished in P7 ahead of Romain Grosjean who on two occasions ran his Haas into the gravel. In his first weekend at Renault, Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest, just ahead of Kvyat and Force India's Sergio Perez.

Fernando Alonso's McLaren spent the early part of the session in pieces before making its way out to the circuit. The Spaniard was only able to clock up 13 laps and ended the day in P12. It was a similar story for Felipe Massa who managed just six laps in his Williams before a gearbox failure forced him to abandon his car on circuit. Massa finished 14th, just behind Esteban Ocon.

The session ended in a Virtual Safety Car after Marcus Ericsson had found the gravel at Turn 6. Third practice for the Australian Grand Prix gets underway on Saturday at 1pm local time where teams are expected to reveal more of their true pace.

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