Verstappen dominates FP2 as Hamilton Endures Troubles on a Tricky Friday afternoon at Mexican GP

Published 11/05/2021, 6:00 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 5, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Andres Stapff


Max Verstappen managed to sneak his way to the top of the charts in FP2 after a dominant Mercedes show in the morning at Mexican GP. The Dutchman looked in top form through the afternoon, as Hamilton had to endure traffic over most of his flying laps.

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How the session unfolded at Mexican GP

Contrasting start for Verstappen and Hamilton

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As the lights went green for FP2, most of the cars rushed onto the track, including Sergio Perez amidst loud applause from the spectators. However, there were too many cars around the same section of the track, causing huge traffic around the final corner.

Drivers like Hamilton and Raikkonen had to pull back from their respective laps, after hardly 3 turns. Verstappen, though, managed to keep himself away from the chaos to post his first lap time on the charts – 1:18:818. Soon, the Dutchman improvised on his second lap by over 0.6s.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico -Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Meanwhile, Hamilton and Raikkonen continued to tussle; the Finn yet again managed to come in the way of the 7-time world champion.

After backing out of both the laps, Hamilton did post his first lap time on his third attempt. But, the fact that there were double-waved yellow flags in place, the stewards deleted his lap time. Then arrived his fourth attempt; this time, Hamilton suffered a massive lock-up, absolutely wrecking his tires.

Qualifying run during FP2

Tsunoda started off the proceedings to go P2, around 0.761s behind the leader. Soon, Vettel claimed P3, but both the drivers got pushed down a position after Bottas snatched P2, and still ended up 0.1s down on Verstappen, which indeed looked like a worry for Mercedes.

Gasly pushed his teammate further down the order, as the French lad went P3. Then arrived Hamilton, who finally managed to get himself on the timesheets. The Briton provisionally clinched P1, but, seconds later, Verstappen snatched it away with a 1:17:301.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Perez put up a strong lap to go P3 ousting Bottas, and yet half-a-second down on his Red Bull teammate. Just as we thought the qualifying run was over, Bottas came up with another lap on his used (10 laps old) soft tires; the Finn managed to leap ahead of both Hamilton and Perez into P2.

Trouble for Russell and Ricciardo at Mexican GP

Early in the session, Russell complained of gearbox problems, and after a string of examining, Williams affirmed that it was an internal issue with the gearbox. Hence, the race engineer urged Russell to return to the pits on the 5th gear to avoid anti-stall.

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And that was it from the Briton, who never managed to make a return to the track. Meanwhile, there was Ricciardo. It initially looked like the McLaren were busy tweaking with the car’s set-up but eventually, the announcement arrived that Ricciardo’s car too had gearbox issues.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in action during practice REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Moreover, McLaren’s pace, on the whole, looked quite concerning amidst their ongoing battle against Ferrari. The Ferrari duo looked much more comfortable, as Sainz and Leclerc claimed P5 and P7, respectively.

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Overall, it was indeed a much-needed session for Red Bull after their rivals held the upper hand throughout the first practice session. But, will Hamilton and co pull off a comeback in FP3? Well, we’ll know in time.

Watch Story: Mad Max: Verstappen’s Angriest Rants on Team Radio

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Rohit Kumar

1418 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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