Hamilton fastest again in Melbourne, Red Bull close to Mercedes

Hamilton fastest again in Melbourne, Red Bull close to Mercedes

Max Verstappen looked quick and got to within 0.127s of Hamilton's pace


Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes stayed top of the timesheets in the second free practice at Albert Park Circuit.

Hamilton punched in a couple of fast laps on ultrasoft tyres midway through the 90-minute session. Max Verstappen also looked quick and got to within 0.127s of Hamilton’s pace.

Valtteri Bottas was 0.228s slower than his teammate in the sister Mercedes, while fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen all but matched his compatriot in the lead Ferrari.

Bottas and Raikkonen weren’t only close in the times. They have been called to the stewards thanks to the Ferrari driver having allegedly impeded his Mercedes counterpart, causing him to take a trip through the Turn 3 gravel.

Bottas was one of several men to push the limits of the Albert Park circuit, as the teams got down to some serious qualifying-type runs on Pirelli’s quickest ultrasoft tyres. Esteban Ocon went off at the same corner, while Carlos Sainz took his Renault for an excursion at Turn 13.

Sebastian Vettel again gave best to Ferrari teammate Raikkonen as he secured fifth. The biggest surprise of the session was the impressive speed of the similarly-powered Haas cars. Romain Grosjean was sixth for the American squad, with teammate Magnussen ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh for Red Bull. The Australian having had to abort a strong lap thanks to a brief red-flag stoppage caused by debris on the main straight. It was another encouraging session for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne eighth and tenth respectively.

Lance Stroll had to abandon his Williams on track as the chequered flag. It was due to technical issues, leaving the Canadian 14th in the times.