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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There’s F1 races tickets DVDs and more to be won. Play for free by guessing the top five in each race:

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?

  21. Very interesting that Mclaren has improved so much! It seems like their more simple exhaust really works well, and radical exhaust looks like totally waste of time. Anyway, I’m still in doubt they could be faster than RBR or Ferrari, but at least it’s enough to challenge sometimes. Another 3 horses(6 horses?) race or plus Mercedes?

  22. Things that make me smile:
    Button beat Hamilton.
    Alguersari beat Buemi.
    DiResta beat Sutil.
    Petrov beat Heidfeld.
    Schumacher beat Rosberg.
    Perez beat Kobayashi.
    Pastor is 2 seconds off Barrichello’s pace.

    1. You forgot, d’Ambrosio 2-0 Glock by thousands of a second twice.

    2. Practice times are irrelevant, no-one has beaten anyone yet!

    3. jose arellano
      25th March 2011, 18:54

      haha +1

  23. to all you doom-mongers who wrote off Mclaren before a wheel had even been turned….I told you so !! While they mey not be quite there during race they can certainly compete for podiums and if they can get the set up right over next day or so they could potentially have a go at the win. Quite simply they were never going to be so far off the pace as to be midfield and I do think there was enough evidence to suggest they knew exactly where they were and were quietly confident they would be ready for OZ. As I have been saying in a number of posts… wait and see… also interesting that while LH was hustling and sliding and attacking JB simply did what he did and was faster….dont think LH will blow him away at all !

    1. However, as they said on 5 Live what would they have done at Bahrain without the car parts they didn’t have at the time? My guess is floundered and barely got a point or two.

      1. That still might happen, although it does look more promising for them.

      2. ralph schumacer
        25th March 2011, 11:07

        who the hell cares!!!!! Bahrain didnt happen and if it does happen, they’re not gonna say all teams bring what you would have brought in early march!!! For all we know, 2 weeks ago the fastest car was a virgin but guess what, the date for the 1st F1 Grand Prix of 2011 is 27 march and infront of the time sheets are 2 mclarens. Not 2 red bulls or ferraris or whatever the doom mongers expected

    2. bleeps_and_tweaks
      25th March 2011, 9:00

      I understand what you’re saying, but everything that was coming from Whitmarsh, Button and Hamilton around the testing season was that the car had fundamental problems. Today they’ve bolted on a simplified exhaust package similar to what RBR and Ferrari have been running for the past few tests and lept up the time sheets. But it’s still way too early to say they are going to be able to fight for a win by outright pace (tyre calls & strategy are another factor altogether though).
      Don’t forget ’09 when Mclaren got the MP4-24 totally wrong. That clearly isn’t going to happen this season, and that is good for all racing fans, not just Mclaren’s. Because it means two of the best drivers on the grid have a competitive car.

      1. Guys we forgett one thing here. Race day is totally different from FR sessions. We still have the new tyres to worry about. This year is different. And also McLaren had some reliability issues in winter testing, doing very few laps comparing to the other front-runners. We’ll have to wait. Everything can change.

      2. No one from McLaren said the car had fundamental problems. They deliberately and openly took a different tack in their design and their testing program. Because of that subsequent their low testing mileage all the nay-sayers have taken that as proof that they know more the F1 professionals.

        “it’s still way too early to say they are going to be able to fight for a win by outright pace”

        That’s true. But wasn’t it too early – two weeks ago – for the anti-McLaren brigade to write them off? For arguements sake why not try putting a positive spin on what they’re doing. Maybe they’ll sort their trick exhaust and get an extra second, maybe they have an edge in tire management, maybe their KERS solution confers a big advantage and maybe the L-shaped radiators are the innovation of the season. Maybe some, none or all their innovation work (the same for RB and Ferrari). Either way, wannabe pundits spouting negativity don’t really have a clue about how things really work.

  24. Is ‘Quick Nick’ ever going to be quicker than whoever his teammate is?

  25. cmon team lotus! not again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. mmm, not great but well ahead of the Virgins.

  26. The predictions for this weekend are going to be a nightmare, I still don’t think the top teams have showed their hands. Will the Mclarens finish the race, is this real speed and reliability.
    How much are RBR sand bagging?
    Is the Ferrari far superior at looking after its tyres?
    Who was on softs? I missed the last 30 minutes.

    1. The last 30 minutes was done with race control controlling the DRS usage eg only on the main straight, so they could test the system. So much so that they tested the 1 sec gap trigger, Vettel tried to pass Alonso, and Alonso tried to pass a another car. From what i can see they will still need to be very close at the last corner for the pass to stick, at the end and it will be a battle of the late brakers for the front runners, rather than an easy pass then leading into the corner. So from the looks of it the DRS maywell provide some pretty good fights… and i am sure a bunch of tears.

      Also the last 30min had a bit of light rain so Buttons time was never going to be bettered by anyone.

      They were all chopping and changing tires but the top times were all done on the softs.

  27. I was looking at the times while they were doing race sim and McLaren was about a second a lap off. I might be mistaken though

  28. Hey Keith, I think you may have got confused about the Lotus name debarcle… Should.’t it be Lotus and Lotus Renault instead of Lotus Renault and Renault respectively?

    1. No, Team Lotus’s constructor name is “Lotus-Renault” as they use Renault engines (like McLaren-Mercedes, STR-Ferrari, etc). Lotus Renault GP’s is just “Renault”.

    2. No, the listing is quite correct.
      The Lotus chassis has a Renault engine, so is listed as a Lotus-Renault, the Renault chassis has a Renault engine, so is by convention, and to avoid unnecessary redundancy, described a Renault.

      See McLaren-Mercedes and Mercedes, or Sauber-Ferrari/Ferrari for further confirmation.

  29. HRT situation looks very difficult but I think Virgin will make it to the race. They will use softs in Q1 while most others probably not and gain enough by doing that to be within 107%.

  30. Albert Park is a very specific track. We will not know who has the fastest car until we go to a Malaysia, China. But it looks like the cancelled Bahrain GP helped McLaren a lot.

    I think the tyre degradation was lower because of the low track tempertaures. If the race turns out to be hot, we might well see 4 pitstops despite the optimism from the teams today.

    1. Hot = Less pit stops
      according to Pirelli

    2. I think the tyre degradation was lower because of the low track tempertaures. If the race turns out to be hot, we might well see 4 pitstops despite the optimism from the teams today.

      If the track temperatures were higher the tyres would actually be further into their correct operating window and would actually perform better. It was the very cold temps during winter testing that prevented the tyres from operating at their best.

  31. Hm, the Renault is either up to something or they failed miserably.
    I still am wondering, whether this is the full speed everyone at the top is showing too.
    Nice surprise from Mercedes and McLaren.

    1. Yeah, very disappointing. I really saw LRGP doing great things this season.

  32. I wonder how much will the DRS help overtaking.I saw Alonso using it but was unable to overtake the car in front.I also Roseberg once overtaking a car by pushing on the steering wheel not sure whether that was DRS or KERS

    1. But Alonso did not deploy the wing till well down the straight, and did not attempt an overtake into the braking zone as it had just started to rain; zero point risking a smashed-up ride, sliding off-line into the side of another car on a dirty and damp track for no reason whatsoever at the end of a practice session.

      It will take a few racedays proper to start to figure out if the DRS does its job.

  33. Very good to see Mclaren getting their act together. I think in going for extreme solutions and innovations they forgot some basics but as Whitmarsh said by going back little bit especially exhausts they have found new areas of performance.

    Predicting for the first race has become even more difficult now. Ham or Vet for pole or even Button and Alonso could be on pole. Loving it.

  34. Can anyone see any dramatic updates on the exterior of the McLaren. Whitmarsh said there would be obvious updates to see but i cant really pick anything out..?

  35. Nothing exciting from both Lotus teams so far… Petrov bether than Heidfeld x2? Just can’t believe it… Can Renault really fight for podiums? Will Lotus-Renault be able to fight for points? Tomorrow will bring us first answers.

    1. Doesn’t look too good indeed.
      The interesting part is that in both sessions Petrov and Heidelf had nearly the same times. I hope they were running heavy loads of fuel, otherwise the will fall down the ladder straight to the midfield from which they climbed up last year with so much effort.
      Q3 will give us the answers I guess.

  36. Keith,

    Would it be possible for you to mention the type of tyre compound used to set the fastest lap?

    1. I’d like to but there isn’t a list published showing who used which tyres during which stints.

  37. Was great to see Jenson and Lewis post those times, though I reckon Red Bull are marginally ahead on quali-pace and have quite a big advantage on race pace, which is pretty much the opposite of last year where McLaren were slightly closer to the Red Bulls when it came to Race Day.

    My predicted grid after tomorrow:
    1. Vettel
    2. Webber
    3. Hamilton
    4. Alonso
    5. Button

    I reckon the Virgin’s will just squeeze in *wink wink nudge nudge*

  38. Im sure a big sigh of relief was heard from Martin Whitmarsh. This is pretty stunning considering the testing pace and the comments from the drivers. It’s just FP, but relative practice pace is usually a useful guide.

    Did anyone see what exhaust system they ended up using, if not the trouble some “U” exhaust? You can imagine that McLaren has a wing of the Technology Centre now archiving failed exhaust designs.

    1. And another for failed EBD designs ;-)

    2. I hope that this momentum continues through qualifying.

  39. Shouldnt the Redbull have the renault replaced for Infiniti?

    1. Just a sponsor in the end, just like Lotus with Renault (the enstone one).

  40. The thing that i’m moreso glad about is that, purely based on what i’ve seen so far since they started testing, the two drivers seem more closely matched. Even this time last year it was evident Lewis was taking to the MP4-25 better than Jenson.

    1. In the past Button’s downfall was getting the temperatures up for qualifying and he was typically .2-.3 down on Hamilton as a result there. As the tires now are about as hard to heat up as a pat of butter, maybe this problem goes away for him. And with the weight distriubtion fixed, it means there is less ambit for Hamilton to push development toward a fundamentally, mechanically looser car, in Hamilton’s favor. I note Button commented today how the downforce added by Whitmarsh’s one second-edict allows him to add front downforce and heat the tires better, i.e., add grip without adding oversteer, which we know he does not like as much as Hamilton.

  41. Has anyone got a link to a graph with drivers laptimes over practice? I’ve seen comments from Vettel that the tires were not degrading as bad as in winter testing… but I guess they were sandbagging, so tires were not degrading as he was not pushing. Seeing his laptimes over time and comparing to other drivers could be interesting…

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