Austrian GP FP2 Report: Hamilton Leads Mercedes’ Fightback as Rainy Turn 4 Catches Verstappen & Red Bull F1 Out

Published 07/02/2021, 10:01 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


After a struggled-induced FP1 for the F1 drivers, FP2 treated them quite well, with Lewis Hamilton enjoying the best of conditions this time around. The Briton managed to end Mercedes’ FP1 struggles to go P1, with his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, securing P2.

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Meanwhile, late tricky conditions denied Max Verstappen a strong finish, as his Red Bull could manage only a P3, with Aston Martin duo, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel completing the top 5.

How the F1 session unfolded

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Clouds engulfed the circuit as lights went green for the second F1 practice session. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was the first driver to acknowledge a few drops of rain around the area. However, his race engineer reckoned there weren’t rains coming.

But, such tricky conditions didn’t stop the drivers from opting for runs on Medium and Prototype tires. At the top, Verstappen posted an impressive lap time on the board – 1:05:239. Interestingly, most of the drivers continued to do runs on the medium tires despite going halfway into the session.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 2, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Then arrived the mid-field teams on soft tires for the qualifying sim runs. After a string of lap times in 1:05m from Vettel, Tsunoda, Stroll, and Perez, it was time for Bottas to take it to the 1:04m, as the Finn managed a blistering 1:04:712 to push himself up to P1.

Eventually, his teammate, Hamilton beat Bottas’ time by 0.1s to clinch P1. Verstappen couldn’t put up his lap together and had to settle for P3 behind the Mercedes duo.

Incidents on the track

Charles Leclerc was the first driver to almost suffer a huge crash. The Monegasque pushed his Ferrari into turn 9 quite aggressively, as the rear snapped. Thankfully, he managed to slow his car down on time and stayed away from the barriers.

There was another incident around turn 9, but only this time, it had something to do with the pit lane entry. Drivers have been driving into the pits quite slowly.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 2, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Hence, drivers from behind on a hot lap have struggled to notice the strolling cars ahead, due to the crest around turn 9. Drivers like Alonso, Tsunoda, and Sainz, were some of the few drivers who had to abort their laps to avoid colliding with drivers entering the pit stop.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Bottas ran wide off the track around turn 4, as rains started to ooze every bit of grip on the track. The final incident arrived from Norris with merely a minute left on the clock, as he ran wide into turn 1 and spun, completely flat-spotting his tires.

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How did the top 10 look like?

Hamilton and Bottas secured the top 2 spots, with Verstappen settling for P3. Behind the three were Stroll and Vettel, who quite surprisingly showed blistering pace to secure P4 and P5 for Aston Martin.

Following the two were the AlphaTauri drivers, Tsunoda and Gasly, held on to P6 and P7, ahead of Alonso and McLaren’s Norris. Alfa Romeo continued to showcase a decent pace, as Giovinazzi managed to clinch P10.

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Overall, after a troubled start to Friday, it looks like Mercedes are back alongside the Red Bull duo in terms of pace. Hence, with the two rivals sharing P1 in each of Friday’s sessions, who is going to secure the pole position on Saturday’s qualifying?

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Rohit Kumar

927 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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