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Alonso quickest in rain hit FP2


Ahead of today's second session the air temperature is 17 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28 degrees C. It remains somewhat cool, windy and overcast, indeed there is a 40% chance of rain.

As a reminder, in terms of updates Red Bull has a new Front Wing End and Rear Corner, while Mercedes has a revised Floor Edge, Alpine a new Halo and McLaren a new Coke/Engine Cover and Diffuser.

Alfa Romeo has a new Nose Performance, Front Wing and Sidepod Inlet, while AlphaTauri has a new Floor, Floor Fences, Floor Edge and Diffuser and Williams a new Front Wing and Rear Wing Endplate.

There are no updates to the Ferrari, Aston Martin or Haas.

Verstappen was quickest earlier in a session halted by two red flags, one when the GPS system failed and the other when Sargeant stopped on track.

While the GPS issue led to traffic issues and a number of near misses, the sheer number of offs leads one to believe that track limits will be an issue in qualifying and come Sunday.

The stoppages, which came in the final phase of the session understandably disrupted the various run programmes so we expect the teams to be keen to make up for this over the next hour, the threat of rain adding to the sense of urgency.

Indeed, in his eagerness to get out, Norris has a real tank-slapper as he exits his garage and joins the queue that is headed by Sainz.

In no time at all, all bar Sargeant, Magnussen and Albon are on track.

Russell is warned of "light rain at Turn 3", as Sainz crosses the line at 20.378.

A 19.759 sees Verstappen go top, ahead of Leclerc, Sainz, Alonso and Stroll.

The wind is catching a number of drivers out, not least Verstappen who does well not to lose the rear end of the Red Bull in Turn 1. Meanwhile, teammate Perez complains about traffic.

Amidst a number of cases of drivers tripping up over one another, one wonders if there is a repeat of the GPS issue witnessed in FP1.

No issues for Alonso though, the Spaniard (on softs) stopping the clock at 18.887.

At which point, 14 minutes in, Russell wants that it's "raining quite a bit now".

Meanwhile, following his issue in FP1, work continues on Sargeant's car, the American yet to make an appearance this afternoon.

While most pit, Magnussen remains on track, eventually he is joined by Bottas, Ocon, Zhou and Perez as the Dane doesn't appear to be experiencing any issues on his (medium) slicks.

"There's a few more drops now, but still ok," reports Bottas.

At which point Norris runs wide and over the grass in Turn 1.

"We've no more rain forecast for the next fifteen minutes," Ocon is told, "so suggest we keep running."

"It's too wt in the middle sector," warns Norris. Though he opts to remain out he is told not to take any risks.

21 minutes in and there are no cars on track.

In the Mercedes garage Hamilton's car is undergoing a front suspension change.

Following several minutes of inactivity, Russell breaks the deadlock and heads out on Inters. He is joined by the Ferrari air, both of whom are on softs.

"Ferrari have put soft tyres on which is surprising," says Russell. "At this level of rain, Inters will be viable in ten minutes," he adds. That said, track appears to be bone dry.

"Rain increasing now," reports Sainz, the Spaniard subsequently pitting, as do Leclerc and Russell. "There is no point driving like this," says the Monegasque as the rain visibly intensifies.

Several minutes later, Ocon and Hamilton head out on Inters. The pair are subsequently joined by Gasly, but with no improvement in the conditions all three pit.

At which point Verstappen heads out, followed by the Ferrari pair, all three sporting the green-banded rubber.

More drivers head out, but the on-boards, particularly that of Stroll, confirms that visibility and grip are poor. The Canadian does well not to put his Aston in the barriers.

Another off for Stroll sees the Canadian on lawn mower duty at Turn 3.

A number of drivers continue to run which seems odd seeing as no rain is forecast for the remainder of the weekend.

Hulkenberg complains of "excessive understeer".

Traffic, the rain and the wind are all conspiring to make this a very messy, unrewarding session. Consequently we can expect FP3 to be manic.

Despite the conditions, Hulkenberg improves to ninth and Tsunoda to eleventh.

The session ends. Piastri (24)has completed the most laps, ahead of Bottas and Zhou on 22 and Russell and Norris on 20.

Alonso is quickest, ahead of Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell, Sainz, Ocon, Perez, Norris, Hulkenberg and Gasly.

Tsunoda is eleventh, ahead of Bottas, Hamilton, Piastri, Zhou, Stroll, de Vries, Albon, Magnussen and Sargeant.

Check out our Friday gallery from Melbourne here.


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