FP2: Verstappen lays down a marker after topping second practice in Mexico City
Max Verstappen bounced back to set the fastest time in second practice at the Mexico City Grand Prix by almost half a second, leaving Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton second and third respectively after their one-two in FP1.
While Hamilton wrestled with what he called "insane" traffic at the start of this session, had a lap time deleted for double-yellow flags, and then locked up on hard tyres, rival Verstappen had already beaten Bottas's leading FP1 time with an early medium-tyred benchmark time of 1m17.920s. Halfway through the session, soft tyres were fitted by most of the field and Verstappen set the ultimate fastest lap of 1m17.301s.
That left Bottas 0.424s back in P2 while his team mate Hamilton was 0.509s behind Verstappen in third, leaving home hero Sergio Perez fourth, just a whisker behind Hamilton. The Mexican spun in FP1 but recovered to show particularly competitive pace on the medium-tyred long runs at the end of FP2 while Bottas was also rapid, on hard tyres however, as the session neared its close.
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly continued his impressive form, taking sixth in this session between the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz (P5) and the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc – who said at the end of the session that he was struggling with "engine issues" – in seventh. Gasly's team mate Yuki Tsunoda finished eighth fastest but faces a back-of-grid start on Sunday after taking new PU components.
FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE LA CIUDAD DE MÉXICO 2021
Practice 2 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:17.301|
|2 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||+0.424s|
|3 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.509s|
|4 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||+0.570s|
|5 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+1.017s|
Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel took P9 – while Alpine driver Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10, 1.4s off the top and just ahead of his United States Grand Prix sparring partner Kimi Raikkonen in P11.
Lando Norris was next up in P12, splitting the Alfa Romeos as Raikkonen's team mate Antonio Giovinazzi finished 13th.
Alpine's Esteban Ocon took 14th but was unhappy with the balance of his car, complaining that it was "turning itself". He finished ahead of McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo (P15), who put just seven laps on the board thanks to a gearbox issue on Friday afternoon that kept him in trhe garage for much of the session.
Haas' Mick Schumacher took 16th while Lance Stroll, who starts at the back alongside Tsunoda on Sunday, finished 17th for Aston Martin.
Williams' Nicholas Latifi finished 18th but team mate George Russell suffered a post-Halloween fright, complaining that his "gearbox has gone" early on, which led to the Briton retreating to the garage and finishing 20th without a time on the board.
Between the Williams pair was Haas' Nikita Mazepin, who faces a post-session trip to the Stewards for failing to follow the Race Director's instructions after going off at Turn 8. Hamilton and Raikkonen were reprimanded for doing at Turns 2-3 in FP1.
The action continues on Saturday with FP3 at 1100 local time, plus qualifying at 1400 local time – with live coverage and up-to-date reaction here on F1.com.