2024 Australian GP FP1: Lando Tops The Timesheets

Lando Norris leads the pack in Australia's first practice session of 2024 following a red flag triggered by Alex Albon.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 24, 2024

Lando Norris Mclaren FP1 2024 Australian Grand Prix
Lando Norris, Mclaren, FP1 – 2024 Australian Grand Prix

During Friday’s first free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, Lando Norris led the pack for McLaren, closely followed by Max Verstappen from Red Bull and George Russell of Mercedes.

The session at Albert Park, bathed in sunshine, was filled with dramatic moments, with several drivers veering off course as they got used to Melbourne’s street circuit once again and coped with a surface that gradually cleared off its initial layer of dust.

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One of the most notable incidents occurred with about 20 minutes left in the session, when Alex Albon misjudged his exit from Turn 7, clipping the kerb too aggressively. This mistake resulted in his Williams car being launched across the track into the wall.

Despite the crash, Albon informed his team via the radio that he was unharmed after stopping at Turn 8, his car having crossed back over the track. However, his car’s damage and the debris scattered across the track led to a several-minute-long session suspension as officials worked to clear the mess.

As the session resumed, many drivers eagerly returned to the track on soft tyres, aiming to surpass Norris’ leading time. Despite their efforts, Norris maintained the top position by a slim margin of 0.018 seconds over Verstappen, thanks to his 1:18.564 lap on the soft, red-marked tyres.

Charles Leclerc was at the first of the Ferrari’s, securing fourth place, while Yuki Tsunoda impressively claimed fifth for RB, benefitting from a well timed soft run. He was followed by Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull in sixth and Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin in seventh.

With Carlos Sainz back in action post-appendectomy and two local drivers on the grid, the question remains whether anyone can challenge Red Bull’s dominance in Australia.

Sainz, returning from surgery, clinched eighth, narrowly behind his teammate Leclerc. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished ninth, reporting potential floor damage after an encounter with the kerbs at Turn 10.

Among other incidents during the session, Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, experienced a sudden loss of control, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas spun out, and Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin ventured off-track through the gravel at the high-speed Turn 9/10 chicane.

Australian GP FP1 Results

2024 Australian Grand Prix, 22 March 2024

14Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:18.56423
21Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:18.582+0.018s19
363George RussellMercedes1:18.597+0.033s21
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:18.599+0.035s22
522Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT1:18.621+0.057s26
611Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:18.642+0.078s23
718Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:18.667+0.103s26
855Carlos SainzFerrari1:18.686+0.122s23
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.771+0.207s20
1081Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes1:18.918+0.354s25
113Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT1:19.274+0.710s25
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:19.443+0.879s11
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:19.489+0.925s21
142Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:19.519+0.955s22
1531Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:19.561+0.997s25
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:19.604+1.040s21
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:19.622+1.058s25
1814Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:19.716+1.152s16
1924Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:19.989+1.425s23
2077Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:20.014+1.450s21

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About The Author

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Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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