FP2: Verstappen again fastest in tightly matched field
Max Verstappen emerged fastest again in the second practice session of the day in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. The Dutchman narrowly topped Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton as teams revealed a bit more of their pace.
The session started in very tricky conditions with gusty winds causing several drivers to go off track or badly lock up their front wheels while braking. Especially at the downhill Turn 10 there were many mistakes throughout, but mostly in the first ten minutes of the session.
Apart from some ruined tyres where was no damage on any cars, except for Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo Sauber C41. The Finn slid off the track after Turn 7 due to losing rear grip. He hobbled through the gravel and eventually lost his front wing as he hit the tyre barriers. Raikkonen did manage to get back to the pits, where a new nose cone was fitted to get him out again quickly.
Early session issues were mostly forgotten when times tumbled around the halfway mark, with several drivers improving on the best time, at that point Verstappen's first lap in the session. But, the Dutchman joined that party and sorted matters straight away with another well composed run, though without much of an advantage over his competitors.
A similar flurry of quick laps occurred at the very end of the session, but it didn't change much to the eventual standings where Verstappen topped McLaren's Lando Norris by less than a tenth. Lewis Hamilton kept Mercedes somewhat in front by going third fastest, but again, it appeared like the Mercedes is a much more difficult to drive machine than the Red Bull of McLaren.
Carlos Sainz was fourth fastest in the Ferrari, ahead of Bottas, Ricciado, Tsunoda, Stroll, Gasly and Perez. These top 10 drivers all ranked up within less than 0.7s from the pace setter, making for an interesting competition that could still go in any direction.
Esteban Ocon ended up in 11th, followed by Leclerc, Giovinazzi, Vettel and Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen in 16th is the first driver more than a full second behind Verstappen.
Closing the rankings today were Williams and Haas, with Russell leading that pack, ahead of Haas's Schumacher, Latifiy and Mazepin who ended up 20th.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:30.847||-||23|
|2||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes||1:30.942||+0.095s||25|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes||1:31.230||+0.383s||22|
|7||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda||1:31.294||+0.447s||23|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:31.393||+0.546s||24|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||1:31.483||+0.636s||27|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:31.503||+0.656s||23|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:31.601||+0.754s||24|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:31.740||+0.893s||27|
|14||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:31.769||+0.922s||26|
|15||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:31.770||+0.923s||24|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:31.862||+1.015s||15|
|17||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:32.331||+1.484s||28|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:33.297||+2.450s||24|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:33.400||+2.553s||28|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:33.449||+2.602s||19|