Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton showered lavish praise on their team for conjuring a “massive” improvement in their cars to allow the pair to set the quickest times on the first day of practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday.
The 2009 world champion Button had hoped for a pleasant surprise following a winter testing plagued with reliability problems, and got his wish with a time of one minute 25.854 seconds in the second session, the fastest for the day.
Hamilton was 0.132 seconds behind with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third quickest and Sebastian Vettel fourth for Red Bull. “McLaren have done a fantastic job of bringing here an exhaust system that’s reliable and has also got more pace than what we’ve experienced with this car before,” he said.
HRT finally on track
Strugglers Hispania (HRT) toiled through the night to get their cars ready for practice on Friday, but only Vitantonio Liuzzi emerged from the garage minutes before the end of the 2nd session. Narain Karthikeyan failed to complete any laps due to his car not being ready.