Melbourne, Free Practice 1: two Ferraris, Verstappen detached

Carlos Sainz amazes in the first free practice session of the Australian GP: the Spaniard with the F1-75 trims over half a second to his teammate Charles Leclerc. In third place is Sergio Perez who precedes with Red Bull a Max Verstappen in set-up difficulties on a track that was supposed to favor the RB18s. Vettel breaks the Mercedes engine on his Aston Martin. Hamilton only seventh, but the W13 seems to have improved in race pace.

David Sanchez had said that Ferrari had prepared very well for the Australian GP in the simulator. And the drivers of the red team did not disappoint the expectations of the head of the Prancing Horse’s aerodynamics by placing the two F1-75s at the top of the standings in the first free practice session in Melbourne.

The Albert Park track magazine has been speeded up and it shouldn’t be surprising if the times are significantly faster than those of 2019: Carlos Sainz on soft tires (C5 compound, the softest of the Pirelli offer) reached 1’19 “806 compared to Lewis Hamilton’s 1’23” 599 of three years. The Spaniard made a big difference, leaving Charles Leclerc over half a second after a truly impressive last sector of the red.

Carlos entered the track with a slight delay because the nose with the laser sensors on the front wing did not mount to the chassis. The mechanics of the Cavallino immediately solved the problem, before the madrlleno ended up under investigation for an impediment against Guanyu Zhou with Alfa Romeo.

Leclerc who, in an attempt to start, ended up long in the gravel but without reporting any damage on his Ferrari, had an extractor with a modification in the central part. The Monegasque repeated a smear at the exit of turn 12 while he was making a mini long run. During a pit stop, Leclerc’s F1-75 fell off the stands on the right side, but did not report any particular years. Ferrari with many setbacks, but immediately very fast.

Ferrari immediately found the right pace at Albert Park, a track that on paper must have been favorable to Red Bull: Max Verstappen, who used two soft trains, is only fourth with a gap of eight tenths of a second from Sainz. The Dutchman tried a mid-shift change he didn’t like and went back. It is therefore not surprising that Sergio Perez is ahead of his captain in the RB18 just 22 thousandths from Leclerc’s performance.

The red dictates the pace and Red Bull chases in the first southern taste: in fifth place climbs Lando Norris with McLaren unusually in plain sight on Friday. The Englishman leaves 1 “1 to Ferrari, but the MCL36 seems to adapt to Melbourne, as Daniel Ricciardo is also not missing with an encouraging eighth place.

The positive moment of Esteban Ocon sixth continues with the Alpine equipped with a lightened base: the Frenchman has spun in front of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. The seven-time world champion is seventh with an important gap (1 “221), but the Englishman would have been the fastest in the mini lomg run, a sign that Brackley may have understood something about how to make the W13 work. George Russell , on the other hand, he is only 12th and pays four tenths from Hamilton.

The top 10 is completed by Fernando Alonso who brings the third Renault engine to the track on the Alpine A522 ahead of Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo, while the Chinese Zhou is 15th and leaves the Finn six tenths.

Yuki Tsunoda is ahead of Pierre Gasly with the AlphaTauri equipped with the third Honda engine: the Japanese is 11th with the team leader 14th. Difficult debut for Sebastian Vettel: the German after he missed the first two races for COVID, could not go far because he sold the Mercedes engine of his Aston Martin. We saw Seb more busy putting out the Mercedes engine fire. The failure alarms the Brixworth technicians for an unexpected tussle …

Vettel, however, did clearly better than Lance Stroll only 1st with the other “verdona” ahead of Alexander Albon’s Williams. Kevin Magnussen is not in perfect physical condition but he still managed to do better than Mick Schumacher on the Haas: the German is taking the measures to the rebuilt VF-22 after the terrible bang in qualifying in Jeddah. Between the two Haas there is the colorless Nicholas Latifi always in trouble the FW44.

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