FP2: Verstappen again fastest in tightly matched field

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

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.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:30.847-23
24Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:30.942+0.095s25
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:31.082+0.235s24
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.127+0.280s26
577Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:31.218+0.371s23
63Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes1:31.230+0.383s22
722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda1:31.294+0.447s23
818Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes1:31.393+0.546s24
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda1:31.483+0.636s27
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda1:31.503+0.656s23
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:31.601+0.754s24
1216Charles LeclercFerrari1:31.612+0.765s26
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:31.740+0.893s27
145Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes1:31.769+0.922s26
1514Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:31.770+0.923s24
167Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:31.862+1.015s15
1763George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:32.331+1.484s28
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:33.297+2.450s24
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:33.400+2.553s28
209Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari1:33.449+2.602s19