The first practice sessions of the season got under way in Melbourne today and there are some interesting points to take.
Mercedes again seem to be top dog, with 3 time world champion Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel, the Brit was half a second up in both practice session. Firstly ahead of team mate Bottas and then the Ferrari of Vettel. All this and Hamilton still claims that the Scuderia are favourites this season.
As for Ferrari, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene defended the teams decision to back away from the media. Neither Kimi Riakkonen nor any leading figures within the team have been made available to the media thus far. Although the team did allow the Finn to do a short video which was uploaded to Twitter, stating that this covers all bases of media with Vettel having taken part in the official press conference.
The Red Bulls finished FP2 5th and 6th down from their 3/4 placings in FP1. Verstappen having run wide at the exit of turn 12 on his first run with ultra softs in FP2 damaging the floor of his RB13.
The Renault of Palmer retired from the session after a heavy crash coming on to the main straight at the end of what could have been his best lap.An incident in which the Brit said he ‘had no chance’.
Gearbox problems for Massa allowed Sainz to take his Toro Rosso to sixth an impressive best of the rest behind the top 3 teams.
The Mclarens seemed to be on the right track with Alonso gong 12th and although Vandoorne was down in 17th at the end of FP2 neither had and problems with reliability, showing that Honda has made steps towards sorting out it’s 2017 engine.
It was speculated (and hoped for by many fans) that this years new T-wings would be banned. And Haas have become the first team to be hit by such rulings. The American team ran their version of the aero device in the first practice session but after it seen to be excessively shaking and flexing they were told to remove it for the following session on safety grounds. Team principal Gunther Steiner has said he doesn’t know if it will be allowed back on despite the team having fallen by four tenths without the device installed.