Long briefing with the driver
Unlike Saudi Arabia, a boycott is certainly not on the agenda today. However, the mandatory briefing of the driver again took a very long time. We hear from the road that it should have been about two hours.
As a reminder, it’s already 9:00 PM in Melbourne. By the way, we still haven’t made any decisions from the race stewards. All four investigations are still open.
Leclerc expects a tough fight against Red Bull
Today he was 0.245sec faster than Verstappen. But Leclerc warns: “They didn’t run together. Max had some traffic in his fast lap.”
So the poles will not be a sure success tomorrow. “It will be very tight,” he predicts and explains: “We have to get the most out of our car to start from the pole.”
Only two races and two practice sessions have been completed – including today’s Vettel – at least half of the 20 drivers have been replaced with an engine or transmission part! If you include the exhaust, only eight of the 20 drivers remain completely unchanged.
Mercedes: Tires are a concern
It’s not just the rebound that is causing concern at Mercedes’ Melbourne lines. “It’s hard for us to get the tire temperatures up here,” explains Andrew Shovlin. “That’s the most important thing we have to work on all night.”
“We were much more competitive in the first session than we were in the cold evenings, and the data we’re seeing from the car confirms the fact that we’re not hot enough,” said Shovlin.
“We’re now in a vicious circle where drivers don’t trust the speed carry through the fastest corners and it’s that speed that creates the temperature we so desperately need,” he explains.
“So it’s not an easy day at all, but we’re used to it this year,” he shrugs.
Why things are going a little better for McLaren
Team Leader Seidl explained this to ORF, saying, “I’m really satisfied with both courses. We saw from the first try that we took a step again compared to Saudi Arabia.”
“We confirmed that in Unit Two. I think the more laps we get, the more we understand the car. It was such a tough start in Bahrain because we lost a lot of running time during testing,” he recalls.
“Now we are taking advantage of the fact that we were able to complete the weekend. We understand the car better. In addition, this track suits our car better than Bahrain,” Seidl said.
Let’s see if we can confirm that tomorrow and one.
Szafnauer satisfied: “Looks good”
P4 and P6 today for Alonso and Ocon. Accordingly, the Alpine team boss is satisfied: “The long-term pace looks consistent and competitive. And I think we’re looking good on one lap too.”
Plus, “more” is coming on Saturday. “I think we’re in good shape to get both cars in Q3,” said Szafnauer, who added regarding the new layout: “It probably fits our car a little better.”
Because the Alps love fast and medium angles. Let’s see if we can build on today’s result tomorrow and especially on Sunday.
Horner: F1 in Australia could become like MotoGP
Could there be too many overtaking maneuvers due to Sunday’s four DRS zones? “It could be like a MotoGP race on Sunday, where the cars can outrun two or three times per lap,” warns Christian Horner on Sky. They “definitely” don’t want to have any tactical DRS games like the last one in Saudi Arabia.
His full statement is here!
Pirelli satisfied with the choice of tires
And as a reminder, this weekend’s C4 framework was “skipped”, with C2, C3 and C5 in use. “It turned out to be the correct nomination for the weekend so far,” Mario Isola said with relief.
“Maybe we’ll do it again at the races in the future,” he declared. Expressed in numbers: there are about 0.8 seconds between C2 and C3, and between C3 and C5 as well.
That may change again if the trajectory develops a bit in the coming days. Basically, one feels good about Pirelli.
Leclerc: Porpoising depends on the path
Ferrari had a little more rebound problems than last time. “I think it depends on the track,” Leclerc says. “We got it a little bit in Bahrain, a little less in Jeddah, and now it’s a little bit more.”
“It’s not fun. But we’re working on it. Right now, it doesn’t limit us much in terms of lap times,” reveals Locklear. The topic is about driver comfort on the straights.
“But I’m not here to have a comfortable car,” he recalls. “I’m here to have a fast car.”
Schumacher slowed down due to ‘some problems’.
P19 finishes only him and almost 0.8 seconds behind his teammate. What happened there? “We had some problems,” he says, explaining that they are not yet sure exactly where the problems lie.
“Not a perfect day for us,” said team boss Steiner, who spoke of “various problems.” He suspects Schumacher has a comment issue that “we couldn’t fix”.
Then there are Magnussen’s physical problems. By the way, his media tour was canceled because of this. However, the team is confident that the Dane should be fit again tomorrow.
Norris: In 2022 you will make mistakes more quickly
The Briton explains why we saw so many riders off the track today. “Compared to last year, it’s generally easier to make mistakes with this car,” said the McLaren driver.
Announced that you will likely see more riders in the gravel. “It’s hard to get a good hug,” says Chief Leclerc.
All in all, it was “one of the best Fridays of the season” for McLaren. “I hope it continues like this tomorrow,” said Norris, who ended up in P8.
Bottas gives Q3 as a target
Today’s P7 is for Finn, who says, “I’m very happy where we are. I think we have a realistic chance of keeping my Q3 streak. I don’t want to give up on that!”
The Finn has now hit Q3 103 times in a row. “If we set up the car correctly tonight, we should be able to fight for a place in the top ten,” he says optimistically.
Teammate Zhou didn’t know the track beforehand and ended up on P15. The Chinese said, “Having to learn a new route is an extra challenge. But I like it, it’s not a big deal.”
He is also “optimistic” about Saturday. Unlike Bottas, it does not give a specific target.
Leclerc: Friday wasn’t perfect
Monegasque was the fastest man today but still says: “It was one of the toughest Fridays for me. FT1 was a bit tough. I improved a little bit in FT2 but there is still a lot of work to do.”
“I don’t think anyone got a chance together today. We have to keep focusing on ourselves,” said Leclerc, who once again called for a “step forward” in the playoffs.
Currently, everything looks like a duel between Ferrari and Red Bull again.
AD: Formula 1 and more live on Sky!
How is Sebastian Vettel when he returns to Australia? Will Mick Schumacher finally get his first points at the World Cup in Melbourne? You can get the answers live in Germany this weekend only on Sky!
And that’s not all: Football fans can also look forward to the best-ever match in England between Manchester City and Liverpool on Sunday after the Grand Prix.
The Sky Sport package is available from €20 per month. Report here!
Perez: Some things didn’t work
It wasn’t the easiest day for the second Red Bull driver either with the P5. He reveals, “We made some changes in the afternoon which we need to analyze. Some things didn’t work as expected.”
So today was not what it should have been. “But I think we have some good data for the evening,” said Perez, who certainly sees “a lot of work” ahead of Red Bull. “We don’t really understand what’s going on with the car,” he admits.
P5 is of course not too bad for that!
Verstappen: Not a perfect brood
We dealt with that earlier. The Dutchman now confirms: “I had a car in front of me also on the last lap. It didn’t help.” In general, the balance was not quite right in FT1 and at the beginning of FT2.
But at the end of FT2 I felt so much better. “We are a little behind Ferrari, but I think we can get a little closer, but they are fast again,” he says.
“Everything looked stable and good in the long run. I’m satisfied with that,” said Verstappen, who assured Red Bull of “the good direction.” And thanks to the better lap, he would have been closer to Leclerc anyway.
“General writer. Twitter fanatic. Award-winning alcohol practitioner. Pop culture guru.”