2024 Australian GP FP3: Leclerc Leads Verstappen and Sainz

Charles Leclerc starts day two of the Australian Grand Prix in P1 yet again, repeating his dominating performance in Friday's FP2.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 24, 2024

Charles Leclerc Ferrari FP3 2024 Australian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, FP3 – 2024 Australian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc managed to maintain Ferrari’s lead in the timesheets during the final practice session on Saturday for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, slightly ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and teammate Carlos Sainz.

The session at Albert Park, which was cooler and more overcast compared to the previous day’s practice, saw Sainz setting the pace early on with medium tyres. However, a late strategy switch to soft tyres by the Ferrari and Red Bull teams led to some performance boosts.

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The difference between the two tyre compounds on the streets of Melbourne was minimal, requiring several laps for any significant improvements in lap times. Ultimately, Leclerc emerged top with a lap time of 1m 16.714s, narrowly outpacing Verstappen by a mere fraction of a second.

Sainz continued to showcase strong performance, securing third with a slight margin behind, with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell demonstrating improved competitiveness to claim fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Fernando Alonso placed his Aston Martin in sixth, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez following in seventh. Oscar Piastri, as the leading Australian driver, secured eighth place for McLaren, trailing Leclerc’s leading time by only 0.373 seconds, highlighting the tight pack.

Completing the top 10 were Lance Stroll and Lando Norris in the second Aston Martin and McLaren cars, followed by Yuki Tsunoda for RB, Valtteri Bottas for Alfa Romeo Sauber, and Alex Albon for Williams, marking the only Williams entry.

Williams grabbed attention on Friday when Albon’s crash in the first practice session resulted in a total loss of his chassis. Without a replacement available, the team decided to switch him into Logan Sargeant’s car for the remainder of the weekend, sidelining the American driver.

Zhou Guanyu finished 14th for Alfa Romeo Sauber, ahead of Esteban Ocon, the Haas pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo in the second RB, and Pierre Gasly for Alpine, who struggled to secure a clean lap on the soft tyres.

After a relatively calm session compared to the bustling first and second practice sessions on Friday, drivers and teams prepare for qualifying, set to start at 16:00 local time.

Australian GP FP3 Results

2024 Australian Grand Prix, 23 March 2024

116Charles LeclercFerrari1:16.71422
21Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:16.734+0.020s28
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:16.791+0.077s20
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.806+0.092s20
563George RussellMercedes1:16.886+0.172s23
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:16.997+0.283s20
711Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:17.014+0.300s28
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes1:17.087+0.373s19
918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:17.341+0.627s22
104Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:17.490+0.776s22
1122Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT1:17.673+0.959s19
1277Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:17.752+1.038s20
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:17.759+1.045s23
1424Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:17.876+1.162s19
1531Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:17.920+1.206s18
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:17.941+1.227s17
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:17.961+1.247s18
183Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT1:17.963+1.249s20
1910Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:18.390+1.676s19
*Logan Sargeant will no longer feature in the race weekend, with Alexander Albon using his chassis after he suffered a crash in FP1, damaging his own car beyond repair.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

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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