After plenty of anticipation with the recent Netflix debut of ‘Drive To Survive’ amping Formula 1 fans worldwide, the 2019 cars finally hit the track for the first time in 2019 with two practice sessions today.
As many may have expected, the reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton started the season where he left off last year, leading the pack and setting the pace in both practice sessions.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and his new teammate Charles Leclerc finished the session in second and third, with only 0.074 seconds separating the front three drivers.
In the second session, Hamilton continued his perfect start to the season alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas, as Mercedes dominated the session with a one-two finish.
Red Bull finally hit its stride with new engine partners Honda, with both drivers’ time occupying the next two spots in the practice classification, while Vettel rounded out the top five.
CAMS Ambassador Daniel Ricciardo had a mixed start to life in the Renault placing 17th fastest in the opening session - after completing only 16 laps -before improving to seventh in the second session.
The cars will again be on track at 2pm AEDT for the third and final practice session before the first qualifying of 2019 at 5pm.
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
It was once again Scott McLaughlin’s day in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship as he finished Friday with pole position for race five, and a victory in race three.
In the Beaurepaires Supercars Melbourne 400’s first race of the weekend, McLaughlin led from start to the finish as all the drama unfolded behind him.
“Great stuff to everyone at Shell-V Power Racing. One two for the team and Ford Performance was fantastic. The car was great,” McLaughlin said post-race.
It was a completely dominant display for Ford, as the top five was made up of Mustangs with Fabian Coulthard, Cameron Waters, Will Davison and Chaz Mostert rounding out the top five.
Mostert’s fifth was impressive considering the popular Ford pilot started the race in 22nd, his drive was definitely one of the best of the event
It wasn’t the only moment in which the 26-year-old shone during the second day of action, as Mostert also bagged pole position in the the day’s second qualifying session.
The biggest story for the weekend was McLaughlin’s biggest title rival Shane van Gisbergen failing to finish the race after retiring in the final laps of the race.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns tomorrow with the second race at 12:50 before the third race of the weekend.
CAMS AUSTRALIAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP
The CAMS Australian GT Championship continued its season opening round for 2019 with the second race of the weekend.
After a heartbreaking exit from last night’s race, Kenny Habul bounced back in stunning fashion to overtake a stubborn Fraser Ross and claim the second race.
Ross began the race on pole after a brilliant effort in qualifying, however the McLaren pilot was unable to hold off Habul who was competing with a point to prove after a disappointing retirement yesterday.
Rounding out the top three was Max Twigg, who stayed in third for the whole race and was unfazed by any of the battles surrounding him.
“It’s great to be here and I am loving this Mercedes AMG,” Habul said after his victory.
“We had good pace yesterday and I didn’t expect to get smashed from behind but it happens.
“Woke up today, was in a good mood, didn’t eat to much, was focused and just drove well, so I was happy.
The CAMS Australian GT Championship will continue tomorrow with one race at 9:55am.
CAMS PAYCE AUSTRALIAN FORMULA 4 CHAMPIONSHIP
AGI Sport’s Luis Leeds has continued his dream return to the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship after converting his pole position into a race win.
Leeds had a lightning start off the line, though fellow front-row starter Jayden Ojeda lost massively at the start dropping from second to seventh in four corners.
Following a three-lap safety car thanks to a three-car prang on the third turn of the first lap, the 20 minute time certain race ended with a four-lap dash.
Leeds ended up jumping out to a solid lead ahead of Ryan Suhle and Lochie Hughes, who remained in second and third respectively for the remainder of the race.
“It’s incredible. I’ve had so much pressure building up to this race. It’s been a lot of hard work from the people who have been supporting me,” Leeds said.
“To get the start I did and pull away, I wasn’t happy to see the safety car boards come out. I’m glad I was able to get a good restart and had a great car underneath me to come away with the win.”
The CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship continues tomorrow with their second eight-lap race at 11:50am.
Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup
Dale Wood made it back-to-back wins at Albert Park as he cruised to a comfortable victory in the second race of the Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia Series.
Wood started the race from pole position after claiming Thursday’s race win and finished 1.785 seconds ahead of Porsche Junior Jordan Love, who moved up to second after Dylan O’Keeffe made contact with Wood on the first turn of the first lap.
Taking advantage O’Keeffe’s exit was Warren Luff who rounded out the podium after putting a fantastic display during the second race.
The Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup will hold its third race of the weekend at 15:20 tomorrow afternoon.
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific
The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Asia Pacific had another qualifying session to set up tomorrow’s race as Philippe Prette continued his good form to claim pole position ahead of the second qualifying.
Prette’s lap time of 1:59.80 seconds was too good for his closest competitor Hector Lester , who finished almost a second behind Prette despite a confident drive.
Rounding out the top three fastest times, and four-tenths behind Lester, was James Weiland. Korean Jay Park will start the second race in the second row next to him.
The category will hold its first race tomorrow morning at 10:45am with Prette and Weiland to occupy the front row ahead of Go Max and Kazuyuki Yamaguchi.