Nico Rosberg keeps the Mercedes on top in another Silver Arrow 1-2, this time in the second free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.
In the opening practice session Nico took the top spot by just 0.029 seconds to team-mate Lewis Hamilton. But in the second free practice session, that advantage was extended to find Rosberg ahead of Hamilton by one tenth of a second. But the dominance Mercedes had in 2014 clearly carried over into the new season. Whilst other teams faced an onslaught of issues.
The second session flickered into life under a glorious setting sun in Melbourne with an ambient temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, along with a 39 degrees track temperature. And the first drivers to head onto the streets of Albert Park were the Sauber men of Nasr and Ericsson as both men got their first taste of practice in Australia after sitting out the opening session.
But that life was taken away after just 15 minutes when Kevin Magnussen hit the wall at turn six, bringing out the first red flag of the season. After initially saying he would need to analyse the data before being able to pinpoint the cause of the crash, Kevin later took to twitter and claimed responsibility for the crash.
The crash was my mistake. Just lost the rear on the entry and unfortunately hit the wall and damaged the left front. Another day tomorrow!
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) March 13, 2015
There were issues elsewhere in the grid as well, with Daniel Ricciardo sitting out the second practice session after the team needed to carry out an engine change. Felipe Massa was also forced to sit out the session, but the Brazilian was kept out the car due to a water leak on the power unit.
Sauber managed to rack up a decent haul of laps but 40 minutes into the session, Ericsson was forced to return to the garage. As he exited the final corner and ran out onto the rumble strip, the car instantly became unsettled after what appeared to be suspension failure.
As for Ferrari, they dominated the time sheets in the early stages of the session after bolting on the soft tyres first. With the option tyres on, the prancing horse galloped into a one-two with their drivers exchanging the fastest lap.
However once the Mercedes men had their options fitted, the times posted by Vettel and Raikkonen were blown away with Nico once again going fastest of all. This time he posted a 1:27:697, seven tenths up on Vettel and two seconds faster than the best time in FP2 for last year’s Australian Grand Prix.
Once Mercedes were back on top, they saw no challenge come their way as team’s switched their focus onto long runs. But for long run pace Ferrari looked good and given they ended the session in P3 & P4, they could easily be the challengers to Mercedes this weekend if they can continue this form into Saturday.
Unfortunately for Verstappen, his second free practice session was very contrasting to his FP1 with the 17-year-old struggling to get out the garage across the session. Despite this, his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., ended the session in P7, just 5 hundredths of a second down on Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.
Yet no matter where you look, Mercedes pace on the soft tyres was far too much for anyone to handle despite Ferrari looking impressive.
- Rosberg (1:27:697 26 laps)
- Ricciardo (No laps completed)
- Massa (No laps completed)
- Stevens (No laps completed)
- Merhi (No laps completed)