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REVIEW: Red Bull not so dominant at Albert Park... yet

Phil Branagan
Friday, 22 March 2024

Friday has set the tone for a record-setting weekend of racing at the FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2024, and it looks like the dominance of Red Bull may be under threat – in Formula 1®, at least.

In front of a huge Friday crowd of more than 124,000 fans, the headlines in Formula 1® Practice sessions were that Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc, who split the top positions, led the way and the dominant Max Verstappen might be facing some serious opposition for the first time this season.

The triple World Champion only just made it into second on the second Free Practice session and repairs to his Red Bull showed just how hard he was pushing during the day.


In Formula 2®, there were nearly more red flags than clean laps, and at the end of the day, third-year driver Denis Hauger (MP Motorsport) and third-year driver Kimi Antonelli (Prema) shared the front row.

The Norwegian and the Italian edged out Dutchman Richard Verschoor (Trident), and Saturday’s race looks like it will be a cracker.

WATCH: Sh*t F1® Questions

Formula 3® Qualifying revealed that even on a different tyre to last year – and that should mean faster lap times – there is very little to choose between the top drivers.

Trident’s Leonardi Fornaroli will start Saturday’s race from pole position ahead of fellow Italian Gabriele Minì (Prema).

Christian Mansell led the Australian drivers in 10th, while Tommy Smith (VAR) will line up on the back of the grid after a troubled session.

The Supercars action was as fierce as ever, with Red Bull Chevrolet pilot Will Brown taking his second win of the season.

He was chased hard, first by Ford’s Cam Waters and then his own teammate Broc Feeney, but a late race mistake gave veteran Team18 Chevrolet driver Mark Winterbottom the chance to take second ahead of rising Ford ace Matt Payne.

With the win Brown regained the championship points lead but there are a lot more points in play over the weekend.

In the Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup race, the return to the class of 2022 champion Harri Jones continued to another emphatic victory.

The 24-year-old from the Gold Coast had to follow Dale Wood on the opening lap before he sped by to make it two wins from two starts.

Wood held on for second ahead of Ryder Quinn and Scott Pye. Adrian Flack took Pro-Am honours ahead of Sam Shahin.