Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

McLaren lead second practice in Australia

2011 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

The McLaren duo were the fastest drivers in the second practice session in Melbourne.

They took over at the top of the times as the drivers tried the soft tyres for the first time later in the session.

Jenson Button pipped team mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time by a tenth of a second.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

In the last half hour of the session the drivers were restricted to using the Drag Reduction System under racing conditions. Vettel and Alonso were seen using theirs on the straight, but neither were able to overtake the cars in front of them.

Sergio Perez was eighth-fastest for Sauber ahead of Rubens Barrichello’s Williams.

The Virgin pair were much closer to beating the 107% time than they were in the first session but were a few tenths of a second away.

But HRT were even further away, only managing to get Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car on track in the final two minutes of the session. He did a single installation lap before returning to the pits.

Rain fell in the final ten minutes of the session meaning there was little further improvement in the times.

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Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap
1 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.854 32
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.986 0.132 31
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.001 0.147 28
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’26.014 0.160 35
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.283 0.429 33
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.590 0.736 31
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’26.789 0.935 34
8 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.101 1.247 39
9 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’27.280 1.426 34
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’27.448 1.594 23
11 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.525 1.671 31
12 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’27.528 1.674 29
13 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’27.536 1.682 22
14 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.697 1.843 30
15 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.095 2.241 35
16 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’28.376 2.522 33
17 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’28.583 2.729 31
18 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’29.386 3.532 29
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’30.829 4.975 22
20 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’30.912 5.058 23
21 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’32.106 6.252 36
22 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’32.135 6.281 30

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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153 comments on “McLaren lead second practice in Australia”

  1. This is a real shocker. That emergency addon to their car at the last minute has done them wonders and if this carries on throughout the weekend then it won’t be such a surprise to see them on the podium, even at the top.

    1. Yep, I was pretty gob smacked to see them top the times and their car actually looked very stable and as if it had a good amount of downforce!!

      1. I still say they’ve been lying the entire time to the press. I think they put on a show for winter testing so well that the other teams didn’t believe them and now are showing their true colors. I’m sure they’ll never admit it so they can keep the game going. I’m just glad to see one of my three favorites doing well.

        1. What good would that do?

          1. The obvious – nobody will be seriously looking at the stuff on their car, hence nobody will be copying it. This is a month advantage in the development race. And one month is 2 or 3 races ;-)

          2. UUK the teams are professional there is no way other teams wouldn’t of looked at the concepts on every car no matter how slow, even HRT (joke).
            If people on here (OK only a few) were saying they were sand bagging you can grantee techs in the teams were saying the same thing.
            BTW I don’t think they were sand bagging, I believe RBR were today though. At least the top ten cars can lap faster than Buttons times. It make the predictions interesting but ultimately tell us nothing yet other than Mclaren are not totally down and out

          3. Yep, agree about RBR running a serious amount of sand in their trunks.

            I’d also agree on the point of McL being still somehow behind – judging by the long stints pace they seem to be ~1 sec off when heavy.

            But about he sense of sandbagging – put yourself in the shoes of an F1 design team: you have very tight timeline, you see some radical concept on a McLaren … and it does not seem to deliver. At the same time you see for example radical exhausts on a black Lotus that seem to deliver.
            Which one will you try and explore first?
            This is what I was talking about. I bet after today everybody will be looking at McL’s changes with more interest and priority.

          4. Driftin sounds like the kind of person who’s never played poker.

    2. Looks like we might be believing Withmarsh next time he talks about finding a lot of time with their car.

      Great to see HRT have at least got on track.

      1. Yeah but they were forced to use last years front wing because this years hasnt past FIA crash tests.

    3. News just in… that spare part? It was a rocket! :)

      1. COTD right there haha.

    4. McLaren certainly seem better than in testing, but I think RBR set their fastest time without the DRS. So they’ve got plenty more speed to come in quali.

      1. Yeah agree, they seemd to be running race simulation in FP2, The RB7’s didn’t even appear to be using DRS on the straight. Mclaren However seemed to be using it at every opportunity. I still fancy the McLaren to do well though.

        1. On SPEED we heard an early radio transmission from Rocky to Vettel telling him not to use DRS around the circuit, but that he could use it on the main straight at his deiscretion if he so chose. Sounds like he opted not to use it at all.

    5. schumifor2011
      25th March 2011, 8:46

      just to put it out there.. i could hear the roar of the f1 engines while packing my things to run down to uni this afternoon. does anyone have any idea how depressing it is to live a stones throw away from the circuit and not make it down!!!

      1. and why was that? it cost 27 bucks today for us students. I trammed it down from melb uni after midday.

      2. I really feel your pain. I was in Nice once during the Monaco Grand Prix. Just knowing I was about 30 km away from the most glamorous race on Earth was horrible (although obviously I could not hear it!)

  2. Once again, how the heck do you get these articles up so quickly?!! The BBC coverage hadn’t even finished.

    1. They have an automatic article generator &)

      1. You’re probably joking but just to be clear – no I don’t!

        1. Whatever you do keep it up, it’s great!

        2. Finger’s Blown Double Diffusser is not allowed this season Keith…

        3. Room of monkeys?

          1. I see, he uses some Prisoner Monkeys.

        4. bleeps_and_tweaks
          25th March 2011, 8:48

          Yeah I’ll echo the others, great work to have a report out from the session so quickly.

      2. Who, the BBC?

        Great job with the F1speed fanatical coverage Keith.

  3. I don’t expect to see McLaren up there tomorrow. It’s practice.

    1. But they certainly look much closer to the front than in testing thats for sure!

    2. think again,this is macca we er talking about.if there is any team that comes back fighting harder is MACCA.i think we er going to see more coming out of that car.

    3. You’re a cheerful fella :)

    4. @Steve P – people can’t see the wood for the trees, over excited I think and have forgot that this was only FP2, that could of been Mclaren ultimate pace and at least 12 car could go faster who knows. I agree it proves nothing… but just maybe Mclaren aren’t down and out after all, we’ll have to wait and see. The car did look very planted.

      1. Apart from at the turn one bumps. Made my bum ache watching the McLaren start each lap.

      2. I dont think the majority of fans like myself who keep a close eye on F1 are under any illusions that this means anything definitive going in to Saturday, but speaking for myself, I’m delighted they’re not a handful of seconds behind everyone else as the winter testing was a real disappointment and that came through in the interviews from the drivers.

        However, Whitmarsh confidently predicted they would gain 1 second, and this difference from the team today is why people were really pleased with this result.

        Instead of a desperate disappointment, we’re suddenly full of hope McLaren will be challenging higher up the grid than the Virgins, which some people were speculating about even yesterday!

        1. Exactly. Too early to call, but more encouraging than testing.

          “Who left this in the cockpit” says Jenson to the pit crew, taking out a bag of Sand and cement ;-)

      3. bleeps_and_tweaks
        25th March 2011, 8:47

        Yeah I agree, I would imagine there is still a lot left in the tank for RBR. I watched quite a bit of practice this morning, and I was surprised how uneasy the Ferrari looked out on track, that and the fact that Alonso reported an ‘issue’ with his car is surprising given their testing pace/reliability.
        But RBR and Ferrari may ultimately have had 10-20 kilos more fuel in the tank than Mclaren, and may still pull out 0.5-1.0s in Q3. But the MP4-26 did look a lot more steady and consistent today. Throw in Mercedes and the uncertainty about tyres and Q3 is going to be epic!!

        1. I didn’t watch FP2. (Sleeping, how boring.) But I noticed Fernando was backing off just before the finish line on all the laps we followed him. I’d go so far as to say, they seemed pretty sandbaggy.

          The McLaren didn’t look half bad, I must say I’m glad, but I still reckon they’ll be third at least come qualifying.

          However, if they understand their concept this could mean they’ll be well on the pace if they make strides in the development race, and after the winter they’ve had? I think I’ll take it.

      4. I’ll be very surprised if a McLaren qualifies in the top 5 this weekend. Red Bull and Ferrari seemed to be concentrating more on race setup.

  4. Wow, just wow. Okay, McLaren were often quickest in practice last year and it didn’t always transfer to the races, but considering where they were supposed to be just two weeks ago…it’s incredible.

    1. Gotta agree. I couldn’t believe that they were that quick in these conditions. Its questionable how quick they will be in bright and warmer conditions, but my guess is that they are not as off the pace as many people were predicting.

    2. Yep, still just practice, but remember last year they were 1st and 2nd in FP2 and almost 1st and 2nd in the race, but never mind, that the car just looks quick, watching Hamilton doing quick laps was very exciting with him throwing the car around.

      But I think the inevitable disappointment is going to be that if McLaren picks up a good result, people still wont learn from this – not to make strong predictions and somewhat illogical (such as writing McLaren off for the champs), based on almost nothing and someones subjective uneducated opinion which then gets picked up and spread.

      1. Joakim Järvinen
        25th March 2011, 8:37

        nicely said.

    3. They did their longer stints in FP1 and their shorter ones in FP2. They were I think the only ones, at least from the top teams, who chose this approach.

      If you look at their 1’28.415 from Button in FP1 in a longer stint, and you substrackt 1,5 secs for rubber on the track, you’ll get around 1’27. So around P7.

      I think it shows that they took the right decisions in the last weeks, because this is the first race and if they’re reliable, then they still have the podium in sight. Because of potential chaos, strategie mistakes and unreliability at their competitors.

      Then again you could probably say that for the first 12 cars…

  5. I enjoyed that :) Massa seemed to spend a lot of time doing things wrong, hope this isn’t gonna be another tough season for him!

    1. ferraricod123 (@)
      25th March 2011, 7:13

      Massa does tend to struggle at Melbourne though!

    2. DeadManWoking
      25th March 2011, 7:24

      I think Massa’s in for another tough season. Ferrari have hired a former commander of the Italian Aerobatic Team, the Frecce Tricolori. Domenicali says he wanted him for his “organisational knowledge and his military experience on communication codes.” :)

      1. cheeky ****** ! :D

    3. As Massa was in the garage getting prepared to go out, his body language seemed much more purposeful and certain than most of last season. Hope he is more successful this year.

  6. Once again the two Virgins failed the 107% rule and I also doubt HRT’s performance. Will we see 20 cars on the grid on Sunday instead of 24?

    1. Virgin was really disappointing. I didn’t expect them to be that off the pace, however they still have a shot at making the race. HRT on the other hand, are absolutely hopeless. Its bad enough that HRT missed pre season testing with their new car, but to make it to a race weekend and only do 1 installation lap on the whole of Friday… is just shameful.

        1. For me the 107% rule is stupid. The money it costs to get everything to Australia and then the team doesnt race is stupid. F1 is supposed to be cutting costs so the teams should get I’m as much racing as they can for their money.

          1. It’s a damn frustrating bit of wonkery by the FIA to shut up Ferrari. We all fine’d it because no one thought after last year it’d make much of a difference but if we loose teams, it’ll be an absolute disgrace.

          2. Agreed, it’s a ridiculous rule, and not a way to attract new teams going forward!

  7. Mclaren really got me there!!
    Position 8 -> Car 17 ?
    Position 11 -> Car 19 ??
    can any one explain me???

    1. Toro Rosso have outdone themselves.

      1. And Perez is defenitely not a pay driver, but an exiting prospect bringing good sponsorship money as well.

        1. Actually, he kind of is a pay driver. But the way the system works these days, with drivers requiring a certain amount of talent to be able to qualify for a Superlicence, sponsors tend to attach themselves to the most promising junior drivers.

          But I do agree. I think Perez and Kobayashi could be an exciting combination.

          1. sponsors tend to attach themselves to the most promising junior drivers.

            Like Sakon.

          2. Again, Yamamoto has family money behind him. He can afford to be horrendous. And Senna was not that much better than him.

          3. Weal, depends. I reckon they’ll have on weekends and off weekends and that could well be down to inexperiance and difficulty with set up.

  8. For a team that is a second slower than everyone else, McLaren have been spending a strange amount of time being faster than everyone else.

    1. COTD!!!

    2. LOL, nice one PM! Sums it up quit right.

    3. Best post today!

  9. Over a second? I think D’Ambrosio missed out on the 107% by 3 or 4 tenths.

    1. Agreed. According to my calculations he missed out on 4 tenths +/-. Still… Except the top teams to deliver a better time, wonder if they’ll be able to catch it!

    2. He was off by 3 tenths.

      Here, 107% was 1:31.863.

    3. Yeah sorry I had that wrong. Have revised the text.

      Glad to see they’re so much closer but it’s a worry for them tomorrow.

  10. What’s the deal with HRT? Honestly, why bother showing up at all. 107% rule will kick them while they are down.

    1. Why on earth did it take so long to assemble the cars and fire them up? It’s a real shame because the car will probably be quicker than the virgin if they get it going. The Virgin is suffering from the Pure CFD approach! The fact that it looks so similar to last years car indicates that the Computer just isn’t revealing any new aero directions for the team. It looks 10 years old.

      1. How the heck did you decide it would be quicker than the Virgins?

        Virgin may be slow, but HRT haven’t even completed a lap!

  11. MClaren is looking good. Its not as bad as we all thought it was.
    Great work Keith.

    1. Keith didn’t build the McLaren! ;)

  12. What with those talks about not having the crash test settled and I did notice the HRT have a different front wing and nose from what they presented in Barcelona.

    What about suspecting that was the old F110 nose cone and front wing as the new one did not get through testing in time to get them over to Australia? Or they had to do some adjustments but do not have adjusted parts at hand.

    1. I saw a tweet confirming this (HRT using the F110 nosecone and wing as the new one did not make it through the crashtest, yet), nothing official though.

  13. That noise you may have thought was just wind outside was actually the collective sigh of relief from most of us McLaren fans. :D

  14. I was watching a live stream (speedtv)- they said they saw button had used his DRS in four different parts of the track in setting his 1st fastest lap of 1:26.156.

    Can anyone confirm if he used his DRS for his best time in race simulation mode? – thanks.

    1. Button set his best time using DRS, as did everyone.

      What would be interesting is to see what the best times were when everyone was doing race simulation with it disabled (except for overtaking). Would the McLarens still be at the top? I worked out that the average time was about 7 seconds more than fastest time set *with* DRS and most of the top teams were getting this, but I’d actually like to see some proper times.

      1. Button set his best time using DRS, as did everyone.

        Not necessarily. Anyone who did their best lap in the last half hour wouldn’t have had free use of the system. I think Vettel was among the drivers who did.

        1. Hmm, yes you’re right. in that case RBR are still out in front by quite a bit.

      2. That’s my point. On Radio communication – Vettle asked if he could use his DRS and he was told only for race simulation. Whether he did or didn’t is not clear.

        1. If the team asked him to do it, then he would have done it. They wanted data for a race simulation, and couldn’t be sure that race control would run their own DRS simulations.

          1. Oh, God this DRS system is another headache. Regulations tend to make f1 so difficult to understand. This year at least we have tyres and DRS to worry about.

        2. That radio comms was at the start of the session when they were doing their long runs on the hard tires doiung a race simulation. He then came in and went out on the softs for a 6 lap stint and did his fastest lap at the end of it just at the 30min to go mark.

          I think they all did their fastest with the DRS their times popped up one after the other in what seemd to be a scamble to get fast laps in before the restriction. I think Alonso, Webber and Vettel were all on softs and posted their fastest times around the same time. Its a bit hard as their laps were not caught on TV.

          Adding to that none of the top 5 improved their times once the DRS restriction came in.

  15. art. 31.2
    “No driver may start in the race without taking part in at least one practice session”…

    That means Karthikeyan is out of gp even before the 107% cut…

    1. It’s definitely gonna be a 20 car race.

      1. There’s another practice session…

        1. True, but I still stand by my prediction thanks to the 107% rule.

    2. Qualifying counts as practice – we had this with Chandhok last year.

    3. Isn’t there the 3rd practice ??

      1. tomorrow before qualifying.

    4. They still have FP3 to go. And Qualifying.

      1. They’ll still >107% so they are out. :/

  16. Why i think Mclaren are as fast as they seem, is last year Redbull had their funny exhaust system that they turned turned on for Qualifying and surprised everyone with huge a huge time advantage. But this year everyone has funny exhaust systems so the surprise effect wont be the same nor likely to exist.

    Vettel was trying very hard to get some fast lap in this morning , he likes to be fastest on the time sheets, but he couldnt get their this after noon after RBR wasted the first part of testing before they brought in DRS restrictions in the last 30 min typically when the fast times normally come.

    The other thing was that Hamilton was really hustling the car with lots of confidence, sliding the car and drifting through the corners. If he has that much confidence to drive like he was the car must be much better than anyone thought.

    I think Mclaren will be in the top 4 Qualifying.

    The Red Bulls seem to be concerned with tyre wear, and i mean more concerned that they others. They also seem to still have flexible front wings. The are draging them in the left had corners to the point were they are being erroded.

  17. Hispania remind me of Top Gear‘s Britcar 24hr attempt. So I reckon we should get THIS COULD BE YOU and THIS IS A COOL PLACE replaced by companies like PENISTON OILS and LARSEN’S BISCUITS.

  18. In FP1 Webber was 0.096 faster than last year’s FP1, in FP2 whoever Button is 0.053 slower. ;-)

    I think the pole position time might be below last years 1:23.919 (which is the laprecord).

  19. Pete Johnson
    25th March 2011, 7:32

    What happens if Q1 is wet but Q3 is dry? How does the 107% rule apply. Potentially even Q2 could be wet and Q3 dry. Do we end up with half the field unable to race due to not meeting the 107% rule?

    And which time is the base line – pole position or the fastest qualifying lap? Sometimes Q2 can produce a faster time depending on track conditons.

    1. Q3 is irrelevant as the 107% time is only applied in Q1:

      The 2011 F1 rules changes at-a-glance

    2. AFAIK the %107 is valid only in q1. So if you come in within the %107 of the best q1 lap, you’re allowed to race.

      1. Yeah, 107% is applied to Q1 only.

  20. What if HRT and Virgin don’t set a laptime in Q1, will they be starting from the pitlane?

    1. They will not be allowed to start the race. Other than exceptional situations.

      1. So if Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Massa, Schumacher, Rosberg, Hamilton, Button or any other (except Virgin and HRT) fails to set a laptime… they will be an ‘exceptional situation’?

        1. As for as the logic goes, depends on the situation :) The %107 rule is enforced to make sure slower cars don’t hamper (or endanger) racing come race day. So my assumption would be if a driver from one of the top teams fails to set a time in Q1 for whatever reason, they’ll likely be allowed to start from the pits.

          By ‘exceptional situations’in my previous post I was actually refering to a condition like a semi-wet track in Q1 where a slower car only fails to match the %107 time by half a second and the wheather forecast for the race is bone dry – in which the race director is convinced they’d be fast enough as to not cause trouble in the race itself.

    2. If they set no time, it will defenitely not be withing 107% of the fastest time in Q1, so they should be out of the race.

      1. Unless they set a time within 107% of the fastest Q1 time in any of the free practice sessions. Isn’t that how things used to be before 2003?

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