Styrian GP FP2 Report: Verstappen Tops, Bottas’ F1 Misery Goes from Bad to Worse

Max Verstappen yet again topped the timesheet in FP2, as he closes out on an incredible positive Friday in Austria. However, his rival team, Mercedes F1, failed to make a mark, with Lewis Hamilton securing P4 behind Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas ending up in a rather unsatisfactory P12.

Pierre Gasly, after shining in FP1, failed to exit the garage after AlphaTauri detected a power unit issue on the Frenchman’s car.

Valtteri Bottas endured yet another tough session, as he could manage only P12.

How the second F1 practice session started

A rather overcast sky welcomed the F1 drivers to the second practice session. With the rain threat increasing every minute, teams opted to push the cars off the track the moment the lights went green.

Most of them joined the track on hard tires, with a few opting to stick with medium tire runs.

Ferrari F1 drivers during FP2 in Styria
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 25, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

However, just 5 minutes into the session, Carlos Sainz reported drops of rain falling on his visor. However, since it wasn’t heavy enough, drivers continued to post their lap times.

Fernando Alonso held on to P1 for a while, before Verstappen retook the lead. Moments later, Hamilton managed to beat his rival by 0.285s to lead the pack. Sainz soon stole the limelight, as he ended up spinning around turn 4 after kissing the gravel.

Qualifying sim run

15 minutes into the session, Valtteri Bottas was already onto what looked like a qualifying sim, as he pushed his Mercedes on soft tires. However, in the end, his lap wasn’t good enough to beat Verstappen, as Bottas slotted himself into P2, despite the massive tire advantage.

He was followed by the Aston Martin duo, who briefly held onto P1 and P2, before Hamilton claimed the lead, by lapping 0.138s faster. Esteban Ocon, then, overshadowed the Briton’s lap time, as he posted the fastest lap of 1:05:790.

Lando Norris during the FP2 session in Styria
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 25, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

His Alpine teammate, Alonso, continued to showcase blistering pace, as he held on to P3, sandwiching Hamilton. FP1 leader, Verstappen, chased after yet another top finish, and accomplished it, as he secured P1, with Daniel Ricciardo slotting himself right behind in P2.

Top 10 F1 classification from FP2

Verstappen set the timesheets on fire by posting a 1:05:412, consequently grasping onto P1. Ricciardo secured a rather distant P2, over 0.3s behind the Dutchman, followed by Ocon and Hamilton.

Alonso completed the top 5, with Vettel and Stroll sandwiching Norris. Perez was on a different setup compared to his teammate, as he held onto P9, with Giovinazzi closing out the top 10.

 

Overall, rains played hide-and-seek throughout the session, forcing the teams to rush with the qualifying and race sim runs. Despite portraying a gloomy sky, rains failed to make the session interesting, bringing an end to a rather straightforward FP2.

But, will the rain gods play spoilsport on Saturday and Sunday, gifting the viewers with an incredibly eventful race weekend?

 

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