2011 Australian GP – Friday Practice 2 Results

McLaren took their turn at the top of the timesheets this weekend with an impressive 1-2 in the second free practice session. The five championship contenders of 2010 lined up in the first five places at the end and were closely matched, covered by just o.429 seconds. The McLaren drivers were relieved to finally have a trouble-free day of testing the car after a tough winter. Jenson Button seems to be comfortable with the Pirelli tyres, more so than his team mate at the moment.

Fernando Alonso was third, and the Ferrari’s consistent pace and reliability bodes well for the team. Massa continued to trail his team mate, and finished 7th fastest. Behind them, it was the usual mix of Mercs, Williamses, Renaults and Saubers. Both Mercedes drivers were very happy with the tyre characteristics – the degradation levels were much lower compared to those in the Barcelona test. Michael Schumacher in particular looks very strong and very optimistic, and his confidence suggests Mercedes could be a lot closer to race-winning pace than previously thought.

The last minute, qualifying-spec runs were dropped after rain started to drench the back of the circuit and allowed McLaren to stay at the top. No one is about to show their hand until final practice or even qualifying, so we could have a completely different set of cars at the top tomorrow. And what about the cars at the bottom? Well, Virgin look like they will struggle to get past the 107% rule, while HRT’s F111 hasn’t turned a wheel yet, the team still building the rear end of the cars. Only Lotus looks like it has made a step forward into the established ring of teams.

Here are the session results :


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