The return of Formula 1 to Australia after three years since the last race held in Melbourne due to the COVID-19 pandemic came with enthusiasm among the drivers, who wanted to go out to the modified Albert Park track.
The organizers made a number of changes to make the semi-urban track faster, reshaping some corners and introducing the flowy loop through to Turn 11.
The members of the grid, after taking to the asphalt in the first free practice sessions, commented on the impact of these modifications. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was very optimistic, and believes it has been a boon for Melbourne.
“I think the grip of the track is quite good, the bumps have decreased, and I think that has made the track better, because now you can attack the corners more by being a bit smoother. They have done a good job on that. “, Said the Dutchman from Red Bull.
Lando Norris, meanwhile, said: “It’s fast, exciting. It’s easy to make mistakes and I think with that car, compared to last year, it’s easier to fail, maybe you’ll see the drivers lock up the tires more and go to the gravel, so it’s hard to make a good lap.
Another of those who gave his opinion was Pierre Gasly, who was enthusiastic: “The faster you go, the less margin for error you have, and I must say that it is something that I like, it seems quite exciting to me”.
“You can be very fast, but it’s a flowing, high-speed track, but with combination corners, like 3, where you always have to think about the next turn, I find it quite good,” said the Frenchman.
Although he is happy with the new set-up for the challenge it represents, he is still unsure if it will be of real benefit in terms of increasing the number of overtakes on the track.
“I’m a little skeptical about it,” Gasly continued. “I think we have to wait and find out, I don’t think it’s going to get any worse, although I hope there won’t be too many overtaking. I can’t say we’re going to see the same race as in Saudi Arabia, I don’t think so, but hopefully I’m wrong.”
Local hero Daniel Ricciardo added: “Ask me on Sunday night. I think it will be better. Will it be 10 times better? It probably won’t be up to that point, but I think it will be.”
“Also, with the new additional DRS zone and with the cars that can be tracked a bit better this year, if there is no more overtaking then at least you will see closer racing,” said the Australian.
“I think that on Sunday we will have a fun race, but I am cautious about exaggerating, because, honestly, I do not know what will happen. The main thing is that today was a good driving experience”, sentenced the McLaren.