Melbourne Speed Trap: Who is the fastest of them all?

Set inside Albert Park’s lush greenery, Melbourne’s 5.275km rapid layout has the feel of a natural road course, yet the track still very much retains the urban vibes and defining characteristics associated with a classic street circuit.

Albert Park features several fast sweeps rather than genuine straights, but maximum velocities as measured by the speed trap located at the end of the track’s pit straight are still quite healthy.

And if there is a circuit that requires the best of both worlds – that is good top speed and substantial downforce and grip levels through the sweeping Turn 9-10 changes of direction – Albert Park is it.

Cue Red Bull’s blindingly fast and highly efficient RB19 package, as mastered by one Max Verstappen who was quickest in qualifying and fastest down the main straight in the session, with a speed of 328,9 kph.

Once again, Williams demonstrated the strong straight-line speed of its FW45, with Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant clocking in just a few kph slower than Max.

    Read also: Alonso unsurprised by Mercedes qualifying resurgence

However, the contest between Red Bull and Mercedes is genuine in Melbourne this weekend, with the Brackley squad’s W14 conceding a little over 4 kph down the straight to its rival but very much holding its own through several key corners of the lap according to GPS data.

But can the Mercedes boys really give Verstappen a run for his money over the duration of the race, as George Russell has suggested? Logic would incite us to say no, but throw in the odd safety car or bold strategy, and we may be talking a major upset.

Finally, speaking of a shocking upset, one can’t dismiss an intervention during Sunday’s proceedings of the devil himself, Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard’s Aston Martin AMR23 – due to its draggy profile – was no match for its main rivals through the speed trap, but the sheer downforce of Alonso’s green monster makes it a beast through the corners, and a force to be reckoned with in an action-packed race.

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