What did we learn from FP1 & 2?

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Is there a lesson to be learned from the opening practice sessions in Australia? There most likely is and that lesson is multi-faceted for me.

Mercedes still seem to be the team to beat and with their “Party Mode” qualifying engine map—which they haven’t ran yet—they most likely will be tough to beat on Saturdays. A front-row start is always good but the race pace is still the slightly less visible from a couch in the middle of America.

I was reading the F1 sage Mark Hughes this morning and he articulated what I thought I was seeing as only he can. Red Bull’s race pace was there or thereabouts with Mercedes and Ferrari and whether this is the latter disguising their true pace or a real fuel/economy issue or other performance issue is anyone’s guess at this point. I suspect P3 will unravel even a bigger tale with regards to qualifying.

Ferrari’s 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel says he isn’t too worried as they have more pace to be found. We’ll see. As for Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo suffers a 3-place grid penalty but his teammate, Max Verstappen, the race pace seemed very encouraging and a trimmed out rear wing may be able to claw back time against Mercedes in the twisty bits.

So how did you see the FP1 and FP2? Is there a story to be told from these sessions? Do you feel Red Bull have leapt over Ferrari or are Ferrari holding something back?What about Haas? Fernando Alonso took notice pace of Romain Grosjean in his “Ferrari Replica” as the Spaniard put it.



1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m24.026s27
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1m24.577s0.551s29
3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m24.771s0.745s26
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m24.875s0.849s23
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1m24.995s0.969s22
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m25.063s1.037s25
7Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m25.730s1.704s24
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Renault1m25.896s1.870s16
9Carlos SainzRenault1m25.922s1.896s23
10Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault1m26.482s2.456s15
11Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda1m26.494s2.468s25
12Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes1m26.536s2.510s25
13Nico HulkenbergRenault1m26.583s2.557s25
14Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1m26.605s2.579s30
15Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1m26.636s2.610s30
16Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m26.767s2.741s26
17Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m27.035s3.009s13
18Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Honda1m27.745s3.719s16
19Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m27.964s3.938s28
20Charles LeclercSauber/Ferrari1m28.853s4.827s28



1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m23.931s35
2Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m24.058s0.127s34
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1m24.159s0.228s34
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m24.214s0.283s39
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1m24.451s0.520s38
6Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m24.648s0.717s34
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m24.721s0.790s28
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Renault1m25.200s1.269s28
9Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m25.246s1.315s30
10Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault1m25.285s1.354s34
11Carlos SainzRenault1m25.390s1.459s35
12Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m25.413s1.482s30
13Nico HulkenbergRenault1m25.463s1.532s35
14Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1m25.543s1.612s32
15Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1m25.888s1.957s33
16Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Honda1m25.925s1.994s41
17Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda1m25.945s2.014s39
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes1m25.974s2.043s37
19Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m26.814s2.883s31
20Charles LeclercSauber/Ferrari1m26.815s2.884s35
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Just from watching on the sofa I would say the positives of the session were;
Mercedes(especially Lewis), looking formidable.
Red Bull, look on the ball pace wise but could lose based on availability of “party mode” in qualifying.
Haas, Ferrari copy or not, they have a good car, very impressive.

Renault, bit disappointing but may see more later on.
Force India, looking a bit behind the 8 ball.
Williams, breakdown and not particularly quick.

F1 is back though, which is the main thing.


Maybe Haas has improved to be a top 10. Honda has not, but maybe that’s Torro Rosso as well.

sunny stivala

Agree with your thoughts, would like to add that “some” the usual certain people are already pushing-out hints of a HAAS being a copy of last year’s FERRARI protest.


I’m sure I’m being a bit pessimistic, but at the start of FP2 Simon Lazenby said, “If your watching us on ESPN in the US”… “we hope you stay with us for the course of this new season”!? It struck me as odd. Maybe a reference to the OTT(?) or just a welcoming comment?

The Captain

First thoughts. Good on HAAS, don’t think they’ll be able to keep it up with the big teams but here’s hoping they can fight it out near the top of the middle this year. I fear Williams might be in a lot of trouble this year and I’m look’n at the drivers on this one. I hope it really is a 3 way race this year. But lets see if Merc is sandbagging as usual. If you are gonna watch the ESPN 3 stream do NOT click on the F1 tab at the top of the page! That takes you… Read more »

sunny stivala

“Is there a lesson to be learned from the opening season in Australia?”. For sure there is, like there always was, more so for those that cannot but have to follow on from those certain nationalistic rhetoric and biased fan-clubs who are in a race between themselves for the number one spot. SKY and the rest of the British F1 “fan clubs” seems hell bend on making Mercedes as some kind of an extraterrestrial car which is miles away of others. The real picture so far (FP1 and 2) shows that although temps and track conditions are/were the same as… Read more »


I really hate to be that guy, but… what I mainly took away from FP1 and FP2 was the Halo completely ruining the onboard shots. The view from the camera on top of the airbox was passable (although I found myself constantly mistaking the Halo for a very large steering wheel), but on some cars they’d chosen to use the camera mount on the side of the airbox. In those shots, the Halo blocked almost all of the track in front of the car. While I am aware that the regulations require the camera positions to be decided in june… Read more »


hmm. . .
-the halo is really ugly
-the americanization of F1 is annoying:
-i don’t need a giant driver’s head in order to know that it’s driver X’s radio i’m hearing
-i don’t need to hear an engine sound every time we change from a replay to a live camera

part of why i no longer watch indy is because the sport, including it’s coverage, has been dumbed down to the point of absurdity.

obviously i need a snickers.


Having Paul di Resta on the SkySports commentary team is awesome! Also the Martin Bundle track side observations is really cool as well. On the downside, I just discovered that ESPN NEWS is not an HD channel on my cable line up. It’s in HD on the App, but that doesn’t bode well for DVR’ing certain sessions (FP3 this weekend).