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PREVIEW: F1® take to the track for a supercharged Friday at Albert Park

Phil Branagan
Thursday, 21 March 2024

Day 2 of the FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2024 looks like the most exciting of the weekend, with plenty of on-track action to thrill an expected full house of fans.

The headliners will undoubtedly be the two one-hour Formula 1® Practice sessions. When the cars take to the track at 12:30 pm and 4:00 pm, nine teams' mission will be the same as it has been in recent races: beat Max Verstappen and Red Bull Oracle Racing.

In the opening two sessions, the Flying Dutchman carried on where he left off in 2023, but the signs are that the opposition has him in their sights.


One of the strongest challenges could be from McLaren. With hometown star Oscar Piastri fifth and Lando Norris eighth in the points coming to Melbourne, the men in orange will never have a better chance to add another win to the tally.

Ferrari looks to be back to full strength, with Carlos Sainz, who recently recovered from his appendicitis in Saudi Arabia, returning to join Charles Leclerc.

WATCH: Sh*t F1® Questions

No team has won more Australian Grands Prix than Ferrari and the men in red will be out to keep it that way.

If Red Bull shines, what about RB? The ‘little brother’ team has had an up-and-down start to the season, but Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda both shine on fast, sweeping circuits.

Remember, this will be Lewis Hamilton’s final Melbourne race with Mercedes-AMG, and he would love nothing more than to stand on the podium for a third time.

Many eyes will be on the Formula 2® stars when they take to the track at 10:00 am for Practice and 5:30 pm for Qualifying, and points leader Zane Moloney looks to be the man to beat.

But with due respect to the Barbadian, there will be a lot of eyes on the two drivers for the Prema team (which Oscar Piastri took to the 2021 Formula 2® title.

Oliver Bearman has zero points on the table, but only because he stood down from the second round in Saudi Arabia (after Qualifying on Pole!) to make a dazzling Formula 1 debut with Ferrari.

His teammate is Italian ace Andrea Kimi Antonelli (who is still 17!), and both men are sure to be regular fixtures at Albert Park in Formula 1® in the future.

In Formula 3®, Christian Mansell comes to Albert Park third in the points after a fine second place in the Feature Race in Bahrain.

Fellow Aussie Tommy Smith is yet to score this season, and all drivers will be looking to upset the two British drivers who took the wins in Bahrain, points leader Luke Browning and Arvid Lindblad.

F3®'s opening proceedings on the circuit with 45 minutes of Practice at 8:50 am and Qualifying at 2:00 pm.

The second 20-lap MSS Security Supersprint is set for Supercars fans at 2:50 pm.

After a close-fought Qualifying session on Friday, Cam Waters will start from the pole in his brand-new Tickford Ford Mustang, but right behind will be the Red Bull Chevrolets of Will Brown and Broc Feeney, which dominated the opening Supercars Sprint on Thursday.

In Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup, Race 2 is set for 13 laps of action and brings the track action to a close at 6:25 pm. Harri Jones defied multiple Safety Car periods to win Thursday’s race, and the 2022 champion looks to be the man to beat, but the opposition is numerous and bound to be very strong.

View Friday's complete schedule.