Sakhir, FP2: Verstappen quickest again in second practice in Bahrain

Ahead of Norris and Hamilton

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By Olivier Ferret

26 March 2021 - 17:07
Sakhir, FP2: Verstappen quickest (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen continued to set the pace at the Bahrain International Circuit as he set the quickest lap of the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

The opening part of the 60-minute session saw much of the running conducted on medium compound tyres with Verstappen leading the way early thanks to a lap of 1:31.842 after an early P1 time from Hamilton was deleted for exceeding track limits.

The champion was soon back on top, however. Mercedes team-mate Valtteri

Bottas briefly held sway but a second run on mediums that yielded a lap of 1:31.261 took Hamilton back to the top of the order.

It was during this phase of the session that the season’s first brush with barriers occurred. Kimi Räikkönen lost control on the exit of Turn 2 and the Alfa Romeo driver slid off into the barriers damaging both ends of his car. The Finn was able to keep his car going, however, and he was able to limp back to the pits for repairs.

When the field made the switch to soft tyres for performance runs soon after the incident, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was the first to make a step up, topping the timesheet with a lap of 1:31.127. Hamilton then found five hundredths of a second to take P1 again before Norris usurped him with a lap of 1:30.942.

Verstappen, though, had just emerged on track and at the end of his soft-tyre run the Dutch driver had edged ahead of the McLaren man by 0.095s to set the fastest lap of the session. Verstappen also posted the best times in the final two sectors.

With the performance runs completed the field then switched the traditional FP2 long-run data gathering.

Behind Hamilton Carlos Sainz was fourth for Ferrari with a lap of 1:31.127. That was good enough to put him almost a tenth ahead of Bottas, with the Finnish Mercedes shading the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo by just over a hundredth of a second.

Yuki Tsunoda continued to impress for AlphaTauri with the Japanese rookie setting the seventh fastest time. His lap of 1:31.294 saw him finish a tenth ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and two tenths ahead of more experienced AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly.

The final top 10 position was taken by Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull. The Mexican ended the session with a best time of 1:31.503 to sit 0.656s behind Verstappen.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:30.847 23
02 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:30.942 25
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:31.082 24
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:31.127 26
05 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:31.218 23
06 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:31.230 22
07 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:31.294 23
08 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:31.393 24
09 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:31.483 27
10 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:31.503 23
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:31.601 24
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:31.612 26
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:31.740 27
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:31.769 26
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:31.770 24
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:31.862 15
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:32.331 28
18 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:33.297 24
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:33.400 28
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:33.449 19

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