Verstappen Struggles Badly as Mercedes F1 Bite Back During Free Practice 2 in Hungary

Published 07/30/2021, 10:01 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga


Valtteri Bottas continued his brilliant run of form into the second F1 practice session at Hungarian GP to beat both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, securing P1.

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The margins, however, are very minimal, and the result could go either way on Saturday, and ultimately on Sunday as well.

The Dutchman endured a rather unsatisfactory afternoon after suffering substantial under-steer throughout the session. Alpine, on the other hand, are looking extremely strong in the mid-field, having secured P4 and P7.

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Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda posted his first lap of the session with just over 2 minutes left on the clock, as AlphaTauri were busy changing the rear of the car altogether, including the gearbox.

How the F1 session unfolded at Hungarian GP

As the lights went green for the second practice session, most of the cars joined the track on medium tires, as opposed to Hard in FP1. Bottas set the fastest lap of 1:18:376, which ended up being 0.04s quicker than Verstappen and over 0.3s quicker than his Mercedes teammate.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga

Perez soon pushed himself up to P4, around 0.6s slower than the table-topper. Although it wasn’t much of an impressive lap, the Mexican looked in much better shape than he was over FP1.

Minutes later, Hamilton put his Mercedes on the top of the chart with a 1:18:140. What’s interesting is that neither Hamilton nor Verstappen have looked in good touch so far, while Bottas looked in absolute prime.

Qualifying simulation run and final classification

The Aston Martin duo, Vettel and Stroll, were one of the first drivers to complete their simulation runs, with 0.1s separating the two. Then arrived lap times from the Mercedes drivers, with Bottas yet again proving to be faster than Hamilton.

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Verstappen eventually slotted himself into P3, almost 0.3s slower than Bottas. Ocon managed to split the Red Bull duo by placing his Alpine in P4 ahead of Perez. Behind the Mexican arrived Gasly, who was over 1.1s off-pace from Bottas.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga

Aston Martin looked made a huge leap in performance from FP1, with Vettel and Stroll securing P8 and P10, respectively. On the contrary, Ferrari’s performances seemed to have fallen off since FP1, as neither of the Reds managed to finish in the Top-10.

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Overall, after a confident Friday morning for Verstappen, the Dutchman faced significant issues with the car around the afternoon.

However, Mercedes have barely shown signs of weaknesses, with Bottas looking much better out of the two Silver Arrows. So, could we be looking forward to a pole position from the Finn?

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Rohit Kumar

1137 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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