McLaren lead second practice in Australia

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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

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  1. driftin said on 25th March 2011, 7:05

    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.

    • Lemon (@lemon) said on 25th March 2011, 7:07

      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!!

      • MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 25th March 2011, 7:15

        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.

        • driftin said on 25th March 2011, 7:23

          What good would that do?

          • ukk (@ukk) said on 25th March 2011, 7:30

            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 ;-)

          • BBT said on 25th March 2011, 8:09

            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

          • ukk (@ukk) said on 25th March 2011, 8:59

            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.

          • Warwick (@warwick) said on 25th March 2011, 9:47

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

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2011, 7:13

      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.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 25th March 2011, 7:16

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

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 25th March 2011, 8:24

      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.

      • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 25th March 2011, 11:58

        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.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th March 2011, 19:47

          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.

    • schumifor2011 said on 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!!!

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

      • Will said on 25th March 2011, 9:45

        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. driftin said on 25th March 2011, 7:06

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

  3. Steve P said on 25th March 2011, 7:09

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

    • Lemon (@lemon) said on 25th March 2011, 7:11

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

    • 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.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 25th March 2011, 7:52

      You’re a cheerful fella :)

    • BBT said on 25th March 2011, 8:14

      @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.

      • RandomChimp (@randomchimp) said on 25th March 2011, 8:37

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

      • Hare (@hare) said on 25th March 2011, 8:44

        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!

        • Andy C said on 25th March 2011, 9:05

          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 ;-)

      • bleeps_and_tweaks said on 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!!

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th March 2011, 11:53

          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.

      • Steve P said on 25th March 2011, 14:14

        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. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 25th March 2011, 7:10

    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.

  5. MattHT (@mattht) said on 25th March 2011, 7:10

    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!

  6. driftin said on 25th March 2011, 7:15

    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?

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th March 2011, 7:41

      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.

      • Zodman said on 25th March 2011, 7:49


        • 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.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th March 2011, 11:56

            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.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th March 2011, 19:53

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

  7. rui said on 25th March 2011, 7:15

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

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th March 2011, 7:17

      Toro Rosso have outdone themselves.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2011, 7:48

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

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th March 2011, 8:38

          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.

          • Mike said on 25th March 2011, 8:48

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

            Like Sakon.

          • Klon (@klon) said on 25th March 2011, 9:50

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

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th March 2011, 11:57

            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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th March 2011, 7:15

    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.

  9. Enigma (@enigma) said on 25th March 2011, 7:16

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

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

    • Coefficient said on 25th March 2011, 12:03

      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.

  11. lulu said on 25th March 2011, 7:21

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

  12. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2011, 7:21

    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.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2011, 7:41

      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. Franz said on 25th March 2011, 7:24

    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. Nick said on 25th March 2011, 7:26

    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.

    • driftin said on 25th March 2011, 7:34

      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.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2011, 7:43

        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.

      • Nick said on 25th March 2011, 7:44

        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.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th March 2011, 8:39

          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.

          • Aris (@aris) said on 25th March 2011, 10:23

            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.

        • Theoddkiwi said on 25th March 2011, 12:50

          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. Lagavulin said on 25th March 2011, 7:30

    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…

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