Red Bull’s strong start continues as World Champion Max Verstappen achieves a record-breaking finish, but McLaren and Australian Oscar Piastri continue to struggle at the Australian Grand Prix.
- Red Bull is a favorite in Albert Park
- Verstappen’s record came in rainy conditions
- Piastri continues to battle in his McLaren
Red Bull world champion Max Verstappen has set a record in practice to confirm his preference for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Verstappen set a fastest lap of 1 minute 17.565 seconds in Saturday’s third and final practice session at Albert Park.
The Dutchman’s time surpasses the previous record set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at 1:17.868, which was set when he finished first in qualifying last year.
Australia’s Oscar Biastri (1:18.713) was 14th fastest in final practice before the qualifying session began at 4pm AEST.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso (1:17.727) was second with Esteban Ocon (1:17.938) second.
World Champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen broke the record at Albert Park in rainy conditions
Verstappen and Team Red Bull are the favorites at the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place in Melbourne on Sunday
Verstappen won the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain ahead of teammate Sergio Pérez and finished second behind Pérez at the following race in Saudi Arabia.
But despite Red Bull dominating the two spots, team boss Christian Horner is sounding a warning in Melbourne.
“It’s a great starting point for the season…but we realize it’s a very long season, and there are still 21 races to go,” Horner said.
We understand that great updates will come from others in the coming weeks as we return to Europe.
“So there’s still a lot to do and a very long way to go… I’ve always said it’s going to take three or four races to really get a pattern of what the actual form book is for this season.”
Oscar Piastri greets fans on Melbourne Walk ahead of the final practice session in Albert Park
Melbourne-born Piastri, making his hometown debut, on Friday finished 12th out of 20 drivers in opening practice.
On Saturday, the 21-year-old completed 21 laps in a wet second session.
But his McLaren teammate Lando Norris struggled, recording the slowest time of any driver – 1:19.146 – and completing just twelve laps, the fewest of any car in the practice session.