Australian GP Leclerc leads Verstappen in second F1 practice

Friday, April 8, 2022
author picture Daniel Marino
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Leclerc Leads Verstappen in Second F1 Practice

After a near-miss at Turn 12 and a trip through the gravel at the Australian GP‚ Leclerc has led Verstappen in the second F1 practice. The Belgian hopes to improve his qualifying time after Sunday's race. Leclerc will be a strong contender for pole position at this weekend's Australian GP. Earlier‚ Verstappen was a distant second‚ ahead of the Dutchman in the first practice session.

Leclerc's trip through the gravel at Turn 12

Charles Leclerc's crash into gravel at Turn 12 was the most shocking incident of the second F1 practice session on Friday. The French driver had to pit to repair his car after a trip through the gravel at the penultimate corner. During the practice session‚ 10 F1 teams continued testing the Pirelli prototype tyres that will debut at the British Grand Prix. The braking distance of the new tyres was increased by two percent and they are now the first to be used by the top teams. Lewis Hamilton's lap time was nearly a second slower than Leclerc's. The Mercedes driver was not the only driver to suffer a crash‚ though. Pierre Gasly finished sixth‚ and Esteban Ocon was third. Lewis Hamilton‚ in his Williams‚ was the second-slowest driver on softs‚ finishing eighth. Hamilton‚ in particular‚ had an off-track moment during the first practice and was 0.3 seconds slower. While Leclerc's crash was a setback‚ he remained close to the lead‚ with the Mercedes driver finishing ninth. Verstappen was third on hards and landed at the tail of the pack‚ but made up for it in the middle sector. His car slid off the exit kerbs of Turn 12 right‚ but bounced back onto the track and finished the lap 0.408s slower than Leclerc's. The Belgian driver slipped off the exit curb for Turn 12 and landed in the gravel deep at the back of the corner. Charles Leclerc is the early leader in the drivers' world championship‚ with his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz just 12 points behind. Reigning champion Max Verstappen and reigning world champion George Russell were 12th and 13th in the second F1 practice. Charles Leclerc's trip through the gravel at Turn 12 in FP2 ended his session‚ but his chances of winning the championship were still very slim.

Verstappen's near misses during practice

After two near misses during practice at the United States Grand Prix‚ Max Verstappen sent out a tongue-in-cheek message to his rivals in the championship. He labeled Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton a stupid idiot and waved his middle finger when the two went wheel-to-wheel. Hamilton responded to Verstappen's comments by saying Ignore that - it's just a practice incident. But Verstappen's near misses were not to worry - Red Bull race engineer Giampiero Lambiase was quick to clarify that he was not referring to any of this. Verstappen's next near miss occurred when he ran Hamilton off the track at Turn 1 and slammed into the side of his Red Bull. It was a moment of panic and confusion for Hamilton as he tried to regain position and hit Verstappen's back. Both cars swerved in the aftermath of the collision and Verstappen called Hamilton crazy and stupid. Despite the near misses in practice‚ the Dutchman was able to improve his performance towards the end of the session. His fastest lap of the session was 155mph‚ but Verstappen suffered a crash just three corners from the end of the lap. On another lap‚ Verstappen and Esteban Ocon ran wide and hit each other's cars. Luckily‚ neither driver was injured in the incident. The race stewards ruled that neither driver was at fault. Red Bull's Max Verstappen is a great contender for the world championship. The Belgian‚ who turned 20 in June‚ began to race in Formula 1 when the Red Bull team was in its prime. He qualified fifth‚ but fell back after a botched pit-stop. However‚ he quickly realized that his new car was capable of challenging Hamilton for the championship. And if he can continue this pace in the race‚ it could prove to be a milestone in his career.

Vettel's unauthorised use of a scooter on the track

Sebastian Vettel will appear before the stewards at the next Formula 1 race after he used a scooter on the track during the second practice session. The Aston Martin driver was summoned to the stewards office after he entered the track without permission. The stewards ruled that Vettel had breached the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations by being on the track for more than five minutes. Those regulations do not permit anyone to enter the track after this point‚ and Sebastian Vettel was summoned to appear before the stewards. A video of the incident was posted on the Formula One official Twitter account. It shows Sebastian Vettel removing his hands from the handlebars of his car while riding his scooter on the track. The FIA ordered Vettel to report the incident and face a fine. This came after Vettel missed the first two races of the season in his Covid-19. The team later tweeted that the car was still not ready to run and that the driver would be out of the car for the rest of the weekend. Sebastian Vettel was fined 5‚000 euros for using a scooter on the track. He was forced to use a moped after his Aston Martin engine failed in the opening session. After extinguishing his car and pushing it behind a barrier‚ he rode a marshal's scooter to pit lane. During the time out‚ he waved to the crowd and hopped onto the scooter. The Aston Martin driver is the leader of the Aston Martin team and has already put the Aston Martin on the podium in two races. He will need all his speed and experience to get to the podium and win the race. However‚ he may need to consider a scooter after all. That way‚ he can enjoy his comeback in Formula One without facing the scandal surrounding his unauthorised use of a scooter on the track.

George Russell's fastest time in practice

In Bahrain‚ George Russell set the fastest time in practice‚ claiming the spot from Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver is missing the race due to a coronavirus infection. However‚ the rookie showed no signs of being acclimatised to driving a new car. On Friday‚ he set the fastest time in both practices‚ finishing 0.175 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. While Hamilton and Verstappen are still considered the world's fastest drivers‚ Russell is on a par. Hamilton and Verstappen were the fastest in qualifying‚ but Russell may be quicker‚ even though they were running on the same tires. Hamilton will be hoping to take advantage of this situation and claim victory. But‚ for now‚ Russell remains in the mix. In the meantime‚ the youngster from Australia is on his way to claiming the title of fastest driver of the year. The second session of practice was held in warm conditions with floodlights after nightfall. The two drivers had been set to battle it out for the lead in the race‚ but the session was interrupted by a car stalling on the circuit. After recovering the car‚ the session resumed. While Russell remained in the lead for most of the session‚ the stalled Trident of Arjun Maini stalled at the end of the lap. The session resumed and drivers began to stack at the pit exit. However‚ George Russell's fastest time in practice extended his lead over rival Nyck de Vries to 0.336s. On Friday‚ George Russell's fastest time in practice was faster than his teammate's‚ and he was able to make Q2 at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The time was so close to Q3‚ that he was only missed by tenths of a second. While this may seem like a lot‚ it is still an impressive feat and he deserves credit for his incredible achievements over the last two years with Williams.

Leclerc's early lead in drivers' championship

Charles Leclerc's early lead in the drivers' championship is surprising but understandable. After all‚ Leclerc's Formula 2 debut was stellar‚ and he was a sensation in GP3. During his rookie season‚ he won the Spa race‚ but was later disqualified after excessive plank wear. His most recent failure was to pass scrutineering at Hungary‚ which led to his disqualification from the pole position. Luca Bianchi was one point behind Leclerc at the end of the first season. After the French driver's race win in Jerez‚ his teammate‚ Dennis‚ crashed and lost his life in a crash. Charles Leclerc's early lead in the drivers' championship was more surprising and unexpected because Bianchi was his best friend. His death‚ however‚ did not seem to affect his performance in the sport and he finished fourth in the last race. Charles Leclerc's early lead in the drivers' championship was also impressive considering the fact that he finished fourth in Australia and fourth in Bahrain. Leclerc's championship lead would remain intact if he had won the other two races. However‚ the Frenchman's first season with Ferrari was marred by incidents. Leclerc collided with his teammate Sebastian Vettel at the Brazilian Grand Prix‚ which ended his season in fourth place. After qualifying fourth in the Chinese Grand Prix‚ Charles Leclerc was outranked by Sebastian Vettel‚ who went on to win the title in China. Leclerc's fourth place in Azerbaijan Grand Prix was further weakened by penalties. He was awarded an extra point for the fastest lap‚ which was a mistake in qualifying. However‚ Leclerc's early lead in the drivers' championship was only temporary‚ and he was soon to be beaten by Alexander Albon and Esteban Ocon.