Despite securing only the second starting position for today’s inaugural sprint qualifying, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen bounced back in the second practice for the British Grand Prix, ending up comfortably the fastest ahead of Ferrari’s duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Teams and drivers received a final opportunity to finesse their cars ahead of the sport’s inaugural sprint qualifying that is set to take place later on this afternoon. Yesterday’s traditional qualifying session saw Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time, edging championship leader Max Verstappen in a close battle for the best grid position for today’s sprint ‘race’.
While cars have been effectively frozen since the start of yesterday’s qualifying, preventing teams from making any major tweaks to their machines with the exception of changes to electronics and front wing, today’s one-hour session provided the field with the opportunity of running on high fuel, getting a clear pictures of the behaviour of Pirelli’s C1, C2 and C3 compounds that are used at Round 10 of the 2021 F1 season.
Verstappen put in eye-catching lap times during the entirety of the session and ended up fastest, leading the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the time sheets.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon starts 13th for the Sprint but took fourth in FP2, beating Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – who finished fifth in practice and also starts fifth this afternoon.
A little bit of post-session drama as Valtteri Bottas goes sideways following a practice start! 😮
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 17, 2021
Mercedes’s duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished only down in P8 and P9 respectively, but the end phase of their long stints indicated that they have definitely very strong race pace which might see the Briton end Red Bull’s run of glory in the last five races.
The Finn driver endured some difficulties midway through the session when a visor tear-off stuck in his car, but his team could remove it quickly.
Raising eyebrows yesterday with his impressive eighth qualifying position, Williams’ British driver George Russell left no reason to believe that he might struggle on high fuel. The 23-year-old finished in P11 in the afternoon’s session, racking up a total of 24 laps.
Aston Martin‘s Sebastian Vettel took 17th ahead of team mate Lance Stroll in P18, the two split by half a second. The German demonstrated great speed during yesterday’s qualifying session, but only secured the tenth starting position after failing to squeeze the absolute maximum out of his AMR21 in the closing stages of the session.
The Haas duo of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher rounded out the standings with the Russian having the upper hand over his German team mate, who was over four seconds off Verstappen’s benchmark.
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