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FP2: Alonso fastest for Aston Martin before rain falls on Albert Park

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in FP2 before the rain came down over Albert Park, leaving Charles Leclerc second for Ferrari and Max Verstappen third for Red Bull.

First practice for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix saw Verstappen set the pace in front of Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez under cloudy skies at Melbourne. But the opening session was also stopped by a red flag triggered by a lack of GPS, before Logan Sargeant’s Williams came to a halt and brought out the second stoppage of that hour.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from an incident-filled first practice session in Melbourne

After 20 minutes of FP2, Alonso was top of the timesheets with a lap of 1m 18.887s. Leclerc was 0.445s back in P2 and Verstappen was 0.615s off Alonso in P3. Carlos Sainz (P5) and Leclerc broke the silence – every driver back in the pits due to the rain – with some sighting runs on softs, but they confirmed that the track was too wet for slick running.

Shortly after the Ferraris braved the track on soft tyres in the rain, Alpine's Esteban Ocon (P6) and Hamilton (P13) emerged on intermediate tyres and the rest of the field followed suit. Although the field duly remained unchanged, drivers did relish their first runs in the 2023 cars in damp conditions and the track was abuzz with activity for the second half of FP2.

Australia 2023

Practice 2 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1ALO1:18.887
2LEC+0.445s
3VER+0.615s
4RUS+0.785s
5SAI+0.808s
View Full Results

Mercedes’ George Russell took P4, 0.785s off the pace – albeit with the caveat that there were no representative qualifying simulation runs in FP2 – while Sainz was an aforementioned P5 with 0.808s between him and top spot. Esteban Ocon was just 0.030s off the Ferrari in sixth, while Perez took P7 in the other Red Bull as the first driver over a second off the leading time.

Lando Norris raised eyebrows with a sideways exit out of his McLaren garage to start the session, and 20 minutes in he took a short trip across the Turn 1 grass before finishing P8 ahead of Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, while Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 for Alpine.

READ MORE: ‘It’s team first’ – Perez and Verstappen ‘know the rules of engagement’ insists Red Bull boss Horner

Yuki Tsunoda took the second of four allocated gearboxes ahead of FP2, and the Japanese racer finished 11th ahead of 12th-place Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas.

Behind 13th-place Hamilton was home hero Oscar Piastri, who received another warm welcome from the capacity crowd on Friday while Zhou Guanyu was 15th in the other Alfa Romeo.

McLaren's British driver Lando Norris recovers after going off the track during the second practice

Lando Norris collected much of the gravel at Turn 1

Lance Stroll tapped the barriers on the high-speed run to Turns 9-10 with around 20 minutes on the clock, and the Aston Martin driver almost hit the walls out of Turn 10 later in the session as he lapped on intermediate tyres. He finished 16th in front of AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries.

READ MORE: Alpine team boss Szafnauer confirms he had discussions with Ricciardo over 2023 drive

Alex Albon finished 18th but his team mate Sargeant did not complete a lap in FP2 after a suspected electrical issue halted his Williams in FP1. Between the Williams was Haas's Kevin Magnussen in P19.

Third practice and qualifying are set to be dry and warm on Saturday. Join us for FP3 at 1230 local time and, between now and then, why not have a look at your F1 Fantasy team?

FP2 Highlights: 2023 Australian Grand Prix

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