It felt cooler than 62 degrees F/16C at Albert Park in Melbourne Friday afternoon for the second ninety-minute Formula One practice, but it could have been the wind chill effect.
During the session the top spot changed several times, with JENSON BUTTON/Vodafone McLaren Mercedes coming out on top with a lap of 1:25.854, which translates to 138.169 mph/222.363 kph.
The top ten drivers were last year’s AGP winner, Button; LEWIS HAMILTON/Vodafone McLaren Mercedes; FERNANDO ALONSO/Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro; SEBASTIAN VETTEL and MARK WEBBER/Red Bull Racing; MICHAEL SCHUMACHER.Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team; FELIPE MASSA/Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro; Top Rookie of three, SERGIO PEREZ/Sauber F1 Team; RUBENS BARRICHELLO/AT&T Williams; and NICO ROSBERG/Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team.
Am I the only one who thinks of Harry Potter every time the word Petronas shows up?
The top spot changed several times. With the times dropping from the noon session, seven drivers were faster than Weber’s lap of 1:26.831.
The other two first-timers were PASTOR MALDONADO/AT&T Williams in P18 and JEROME D’AMBROSIO/Marussia Virgin Racing in P21, ahead of his teammate, TIMO GLOCK, who has several years on D’Ambrosio.
Several drivers had problems keeping their cars on course, especially in Turn Three. Amont those were SEBASTIEN BUEMI/Scuderia Toro Rosso, VITALY PETROV/Lotus Renault GP. Barrichello and Glock.
Twenty-two of the 24 drivers were on course for the leadup to Sunday’s dusk Qantas Australian Grand Prix, the first F. The only drivers not on course were the two suited-up HRT drivers, who stood watching in their garage while the team worked on the one race car. They were slow and methodical.
Make that 23 drivers. With under three minutes to go, VITANTONIO LIUZZI/HRT went on course and did an almost-lap. He came into the pits instead of continuing on to the Start-Finish line timing loop, so he got no timed credit for that run; although purists say he went all the way around the track from his garage, to which he returned. Ergo, he did one lap and there is a ‘1’ by his name on the FIA time sheet. His teammate, NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN, stood by in the garage, in his driver’s suit – all dressed up and no place to go.
HEIKKI KOVALAINEN/Team Lotus was the second-to-last driver on course. His teammate, JARNO TRULLI has gone out earlier, but one car was still being repaired after the crash in the first session by the team’s new reserve driver, KARUN CHANDHOK.
Formula One has an hour-long practice Saturday at 2 pm local time, with qualifying at 5 pm.