FP2: George Russell on top, Carlos Sainz crashes, more woes for Max Verstappen

FP2: George Russell on top, Carlos Sainz crashes, more woes for Max Verstappen

George Russell finished top of the heap in FP2 at the Miami Grand Prix, underlining the improvements made by Mercedes and its ability to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull this weekend.

Russell outscored Charles Leclerc in the FP1 reversal, with Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Albin Fernando Alonso closing out the top five on Friday.

The FP2 was as much a practice tale for running as it was for cars that failed in various ways, with a good portion of network issues during the session.

Max Verstappen only managed one lap, while Valtteri Bottas couldn’t get out of the garage at all and pushed Carlos Sainz’s crash into his FP2 session with huge impact heading into Turn 14.

The session began as Red Bull made a precautionary gearbox change to Verstappen’s car after a problem with the rear of his RB18 in FP1 that shut him down briefly earlier in the day.

One of the drivers unable to get out at all was Alfa Romeo’s Bottas, whose sliding into the hurdles in first practice proved too much of a fix for his team to get him out in time for FP2.

The eighth turn continued to be a tough challenge for the drivers to negotiate after a few moments there in FP1. Perez joined the list of struggling drivers out there, getting out on the dirty line around a tight left hand and spinning helplessly, but the Red Bull driver wasn’t fussy and could carry on, while Kevin Magnussen followed him with an almost identical moment near the end of the course.

Haas Magnussen seemed intent on losing weight as well as a piece flew off his sidecar at high speed, leaving a hole in his chassis and forcing him back to his garage.

But the biggest damage to Sainz was as his F1-75’s rear-wheel rotated as he came through Turn 13 on the throttle, causing him to spin and swerve against a wall – eliminating him for the remainder of the session and leaving the Spaniard apologizing to his team over the radio.

This brought the session to a halt for about 10 minutes with red flags reappearing, after the morning hiatus.

Once things went smooth again, Verstappen was able to get out of the pits – but was quickly back again after a fire broke out in the back of his car on what appeared to be his right rear brake, limiting him to just one lap.

Meanwhile, the remaining drivers tried to get their qualifying simulations under their belts, which seemed like an afterthought due to problems up and down the grid.

Russell boosted his FP1 level by scoring 1:29.938 to be faster than anyone, just over a tenth over Leclerc and another tenths ahead of Perez, with Mercedes teammate Hamilton 0.241 seconds behind his younger teammate.

But once drivers started looking at long-range simulations, red flags soon surfaced again as Nicholas Latifi sprinted to the side of the track, thinking his left rear tire might not have been installed properly.

The session eventually resumed with eight minutes to go, and the drivers did their best to salvage what they could from the badly choppy FP2 that saw Mercedes put themselves in a potential conversational weekend. Watch this space as it heads into Saturday’s events.


1 George Russell Mercedes 1: 29.938 18 laps
2- Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.106s21
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.212 sec 19
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.241 sec 18
5 Fernando Alonso Albin 0.434s20
6 Lando Norris McLaren 0.597 sec 20
7 Pierre Gasly Alvatore 0.609 seconds 20
8 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 0.922s 24
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.923s20
10- Kevin Magnussen Haas 0.983 sec 19
11 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1.026 w 9
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.270 sec 23
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.322s23
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.455 seconds 23
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.649s21
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.693 sec 23
17 Alex Albon Williams 1.772 W 21
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams 2.975s14
19 Max Verstappen Red Bull NO TIME 1
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing NO TIME

2022-05-06 22:30:52

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