Australian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton dominates second free practice
By: S.Harding, Xiro Xone News March 24, 2017 Updated: 11:33 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance by again topping the timesheets in the second practice at Albert Park.
The three-time world champion took the top spot in FP1 earlier in the day but turned things up with a time of 1:23.620. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished second and was 0.547s behind Hamilton.
"We knew from FP1 that the Ferrari’s weren’t at their maximum. Of course, in FP2 all of a sudden they were quick. We’ll see tomorrow how it really stands. I feel very much at home in Melbourne. There’s always a great buzz here and a lot of support. I’m just really happy to see everyone and receive their positive energy. I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to win this race," said Hamilton.
Hamilton's new teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third wedging himself between the two red cars. Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen ended the day fourth.
"In terms of our pace, it is only practice, so tomorrow we’ll find out exactly where we are. These tyre compounds are the right choice for this race. The softer compounds all felt good. Everyone is pushing to the limit, as we saw a few times out there today. This track is always quite dirty at the start of the weekend, but we’ll get used to it," said Bottas.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ended the day fifth and sixth after spending they day playing with tire compounds.
"We looked pretty strong this morning and then we tried a few things this afternoon but I don’t think they worked in our favour. I’d like to learn a bit more from this afternoon’s session and then if we could pull all of that together with the strength of this morning I’ll be happy. Mercedes sure is quick but it’s more Lewis at the moment than Valtteri, who looks like he’s more in the group of Ferrari," said Ricciardo.
Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz finished the day seventh ahead Haas' Romain Grosjean who finished the day ninth after running his car into the gravel, while Renault's newest edition Nico Hulkenberg ended his day 10th following Force India's Sergio Perez in 11th.
Fernando Alonso and McLaren-Honda who encountered a small setback in the early part of the session but he later able to finish the day 12th. Perez's Force India teammate Esteban Ocon ended his day 13th while Williams driver Felipe Massa ran into an unfortunate gearbox failure which ended his day finishing 14th.
“We could run a little bit more, so we were able to extract more potential from the car – that’s positive. Still, there’s definitely more to come, and we still need to keep working because we’re quite far away from the front-runners in terms of lap time.
“Every time we were on track today, though, we learned something. We were also able to test some new components, and they seem to be working fine, which is positive. There’s still a lot more to come from us, and we need to maximize our potential," said Alonso.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson lost his car at turn 6 running into the gravel leaving in to finish 15th.