A record Friday attendance and the return of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton headlined day two at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019.
An estimated crowd of 84,500 attended the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on Friday and watched on in glorious weather as the British driver fired an early warning to his Formula 1® rivals by topping the timesheets in both free practice sessions.
Scott McLaughlin reigned supreme in the Beaurepaires Supercars Melbourne 400, too, winning Race 1 in a Shell V-Power Racing one-two finish.
Read on for our wrap of the wacky, wonderful and intriguing from day two in Melbourne …
Sergio’s scathing assessment
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez did not pull any punches in his assessment of his car’s efforts in Formula 1® practice on Friday.
The Mexican driver was 16th fastest in both practice sessions and surprisingly was slower than new teammate Lance Stroll.
“They (the sessions) haven’t been great – not good at all,” Perez was quoted as saying by Autosport.
“I think there’s a lot of understanding that we need to go through, in detail, and try to come up with the best possible compromise for tomorrow.
“I’m struggling a bit with balance … tyres as well – obviously tyres are a big thing. We have a very cold track in the morning, then a very hot one in the afternoon.
“So, a lot of work to be done.”
You don’t say, Sergio …
They said what?
“You can’t change overnight the overall rules.
“You can’t ask Cristiano Ronaldo to not score, because otherwise Real Madrid is too strong.”
Asked what changes he would make to Formula 1® to close the gap between the heavyweights and the also-rans, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto opted for a football analogy.
His timing was off, though, with Ronaldo now playing for Italian giants Juventus – located just over 300km from Ferrari’s Maranello base.
The Portuguese star scored a hat-trick on Wednesday morning to knock Real Madrid’s rivals, Atletico Madrid, out of the UEFA Champions League.
Picture of the day
Saved the gardener a job …
— Australian Grand Prix #AusGP (@ausgrandprix) March 15, 2019
Dylan Alcott proved a big attraction in the Formula 1® Paddock Club ™ on Friday, the tennis star taking in some motorsport in the aftermath of another successful Australian Open campaign.
Alcott clearly enjoyed his day, too, taking to Instagram Stories to share a number of moments from Albert Park.
Daniel Ricciardo arrived in Melbourne with a new team...
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 15, 2019
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo will hope green-and-gold coloured boots can fire him to a first official podium finish in Melbourne on Sunday.
Check out his new footwear – and helmet – in this video.
On the cards
Formula 1® qualifying takes centre stage on Saturday, with a one-hour session that begins at 5:00pm.
The Beaurepaires Supercars Melbourne 400 continues, too, with two races at 12.50pm and 6.30pm over 70km and 130km respectively.
And there are also races in the BP Ultimate Australian GT (9:55am), Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli – Asia Pacific (10:45am), Formula 4 Championship (11:50am) and the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia (3:20pm).