As for the Albert Park street circuit, it’s got relatively low grip levels and can be quite slippery. This increases wheelspin, which leads to a greater degree of tire degradation. Pirelli has nominated the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compounds. Like all the tires in the 2014 range, the medium and the soft are harder and more durable than their equivalents last year, so hopefully we won’t see the radical deterioration that we saw in the previous season.
Today saw the first practice session, and as expected many cars really struggled, with some, such as Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari, even failing to make it to the end of pit lane at some points in the day. Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton missed out most of the early morning session after his car stopped on track during the installation lap, but the issue was rectified and later in the day he set the quickest time.
Nico Rosberg was the next quickest, followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in third and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull in fourth. Rounding out the top five was Jenson Button, which should be encouraging for the McLaren team after their disastrous performance in 2013. Failing to set a time were both Caterham drivers and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado.
It looks like there will be plenty of work to do tonight and early tomorrow before qualifying gets underway.