FP2: Hamilton fastest again, Red Bulls lag behind

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton in FP2 in Turkey. October 2021.

Lewis Hamilton runs in his Mercedes in FP2 in Turkey. October 2021.

Lewis Hamilton went quickest in FP2 in Turkey, while Max Verstappen struggled to keep pace with both Mercedes cars.

Hamilton followed up his P1 status in the first free practice session by heading the leaderboard again with a 1:23.804 in Turkey – a new track record – pipping the Ferrari of Leclerc by 0.166s and ahead of Valtteri Bottas in P3.

Verstappen was 0.635s behind Hamilton’s fastest time, but perhaps more worrying for him was the analysis that showed the Red Bull driver was around a second per lap behind his title rival on long-run simulation pace.

The World Championship contender said over team radio that he didn’t feel happy with how his car was handling, so doubtless his team will be put to work in the evening on set-up chances.

Another busy session took place at Istanbul Park, but one issue to be ironed out before qualifying will be how drivers wind up for a fast lap.

The slow section of Turns 12 and 13 saw a large queue emerge for drivers wanting to find space for the first flying runs, with Fernando Alonso coming on the radio to say “what a disaster”, as cars piled up in the final part of the circuit.

Nicholas Latifi suffered some trouble as he plunged down the hill towards Turn 9, as the rear of his Williams stepped out from behind him and sent him spinning onto the run-off area.

Leclerc set the early pace as the majority of the field ran their first stints on medium tyres, marginally ahead of Hamilton before a bit of a gap back to the rest of the drivers.

Where Latifi had been caught out by oversteer, Lando Norris found himself with understeer into Turn 9. While he didn’t spin, he’d have had a bumpy ride when he hopped over the sausage kerbs there.

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The soft tyre runs began and Hamilton nudged in front of Leclerc at the top of the leaderboard by becoming the first person to drop below the 84-second mark around a lap, by setting a 1:23.840 on his qualifying simulation, before shaving another 0.036s off his personal best on his second push lap.

Verstappen appeared to struggle with understeer, meanwhile, and could only put himself P5 – 0.932s behind his title rival and a few tenths behind Sergio Perez in the sister Red Bull. The Dutchman was then heard feeding back over team radio and was unhappy with how his car had been handling.

The left-hander of Turn 9 proved to be a problem for several drivers, as Leclerc then out-braked himself and ran wide onto the sausage kerbs when on his first practice qualifying run – before Yuki Tsunoda did the same thing moments later when getting a snap of oversteer.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen’s long-running issues with drinking in his car flared up again, when he voiced his disapproval in colourful terms as the water supply in his Alfa Romeo leaked throughout the cockpit and into his boots, after he’d disconnected his supply when his helmet started filling with water.

Pierre Gasly complained that he had been struggling to control his car earlier in the session, but his AlphaTauri dropped out on him at Turn 6 and sent him for a spin as he aimed to get to grips with his AT02.

Nikita Mazepin suffered what was probably the most heart-stopping moment of the session, though, as his Haas looked unbalanced through the fearsome Turn 8.

The high-speed left-hander saw his car get unsteadier throughout, before he lost grip and was sent sideways onto the run-off area , with all four tyres screeching to a halt and, unsurprisingly, making that set no longer usable.

After the session ended, Esteban Ocon was left stationary on the grid while attempting a practice start – as he could not get his Alpine out of neutral. He then had to switch his car off and was left waving out of his car for others to see.

Out at the front, though, Hamilton will surely have been happy with his day’s work, while there is work to do at Red Bull overnight to bridge the gap.


(All fastest laps on soft tyres, unless stated)

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.804 30 laps
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.166s 29 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.410s 31 laps
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.569s 28 laps
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.635s 27 laps
6 Lando Norris McLaren 0.721s 24 laps
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine 0.856s 21 laps
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.868s 26 laps
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.952s 32 laps
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 0.992s 29 laps
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.078s 30 laps
12 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1.099s 34 laps
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.216s 31 laps
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.256s 23┬álaps – hard tyres
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.339s 27 laps
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.425s 30 laps
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.503s 30 laps
18 George Russell Williams 1.554s 29 laps
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.676s 26 laps
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 1.894s 25 laps


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