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Formula 1: Charles Leclerc in verve during free practice 2 in Australia

Monegasque Charles Leclerc set the best time in the second free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, third round of the Formula 1 World Championship, Friday at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

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Formula 1: Charles Leclerc in verve during free practice 2 in Australia

Monegasque Charles Leclerc set the best time in the second free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, third round of the Formula 1 World Championship, Friday at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. The Ferrari driver beat three-time reigning world champion and current championship leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and his Scuderia teammate, Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard returns to his seat this weekend just two weeks after having surgery for appendicitis.

The Aston Martins of Canadian Lance Stroll and double 2005-2006 world champion Fernando Alonso completed the Top 5 of this one-hour session held under the sun. The other Red Bull, that of the Mexican Sergio Pérez, finished eighth. Far behind, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) finished 18th. The Briton is the only driver not to have improved his time compared to the first practice session held earlier in the day. In particular, he complained that “something was wrong” during the second session.

At Alpine, Pierre Gasly took 15th time, ahead of his teammate and French compatriot Esteban Ocon, 17th. Only 19 drivers out of 20 took part in the final tests of the day since Alexander Albon had to stay in the garage after heavily damaging the floor of his Williams during the first session. For now, the Thai is not sure he will be able to return to the track, his team not having a spare floor. On Saturday, the drivers will be able to perfect the settings of their cars during the third and final free practice session scheduled for 2:30 a.m. French time, before competing in qualifying at 5:00 a.m.

1. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:17.277 (24 laps)2. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:17.658 (21)3. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:17.707 (25)4. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:17.822 (29)5. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:17.912 (31)6. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 1:17.951 (24)7. Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:18.077 (29)8. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:18.090 (33)9. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:18.155 (23)10. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/Racing Bulls-Red Bull) 1:18.188 (27)

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