Mercedes driver George Russell was not particularly impressed with Red Bull during the first practice session in Melbourne as two of his laps were hindered by the Milton Keynes-based team.
The drivers took to the Albert Park Circuit for the first time since 2019 after the races in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to the global pandemic, and the new layout proved tricky for the drivers to acclimatise to.
Turn Three has been widened to allow for a greater variation of racing lines but, with the asphalt having been re-laid since the pinnacle of motorsport’s last visit, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz all locked up on the green surface, sending them off towards the gravel.
The surface on the exit of the newly designed Turn 11 has also made for a harsher traction zone on the exit, bringing about a spin For Alonso later in the session.
After the abolishment of the slow chicane at Turns Nine and 10, there is now a DRS zone – one of an astonishing four – going from the long Turn Eight all the way through to the high-speed chicane at the end of the middle sector that now comprises the aforementioned corners.
It now means there is an almost nauseating run down to the fast complex, and Russell found himself held up by one of the Red Bull cars into that section.
“Oi woah, that Red Bull was in a dangerous spot there,” Russell said on the radio.
He encountered another Red Bull later on in FP1 as he headed towards Turn Five, leaving him somewhat exasperated at the team.
“These f***ing Red Bulls are getting in the way everywhere,” he complained.
Russell ended the two practice sessions 12th and 11th respectively, putting 51 laps on the board in the process.
Following another dejecting day for the Silver Arrows, Russell said his team need to “keep digging into the data” in a bid to “understand” the problems affecting them since the turn of the new technical regulations.
Zhou Guanyu also felt he was held up by Carlos Sainz, and the stewards took no action over any of the incidents.
Yuki Tsunoda, however, has been summoned to the stewards for impeding Sainz during the second practice session.