Austrian GP: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in second practice

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas hit back against Red Bull and Max Verstappen, with the pair leading FP2 for Formula 1's 2021 Austrian Grand Prix ahead of the championship leader.

After Verstappen followed his dominant Styrian GP victory with first place in first practice for this weekend's repeat event at the Red Bull Ring, he finished third and 0.217s behind Hamilton in Friday's second one-hour practice session, which was hit by light rain in the closing stages.

At the start, the pack headed out on a mix of the test tyre Pirelli has brought to be evaluated in the weekend's opening practice sessions and the regular medium tyre, which for this event is the C4 rubber.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz set the initial first place benchmark at 1m06.495s, before he was beaten by Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen setting a 1m06.304s and then Verstappen's 1m05.773s, the trio all initially running the unmarked prototype tyres, which feature a stronger sidewall construction and are set to be used generally at the British GP should the data and feedback gathered today be acceptable.

Verstappen brought the fastest time down to a 1m05.709s as his opening run on the test tyres concluded at the end of the opening 10 minutes.

A few minutes later, Bottas emerged on a new set of mediums and blitzed his way to the top of the times on a 1m05.602s, which stood as the fastest time until Verstappen used his own new mediums to strike back to first with a 1m05.239s.

A pack of cars – including Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly – slotted in behind Verstappen with the opening soft tyre runs of the session, before Mercedes sent its two cars out on the red-walled rubber.

Bottas again led the way for Mercedes, as he swept back to first place with a 1m04.712s approaching the halfway point.

Hamilton's qualifying simulation effort a few minutes later left him with the session's best times in the second and third sector - with Bottas holding on in the opening segment – and he ended up quickest on a 1m04.523s.

Verstappen was running in the world champion's wake, but ended up short on a lap that featured the Dutchman clattering the kerbs hard exiting Turn 9, sparks showering out from behind his RB16B as the front wing and plank struck the kerbs.

After that sequence, the pack switched to long-run data gathering in slippery conditions as the rain drizzled down, with Red Bull ordering Verstappen to keep running in order to gain experience of the slightly wet running in case there is a repeat scenario on Sunday.

Hamilton had an off-track moment in the long runs, skating off into the gravel beyond Turn 4 – where Bottas had just reported the rain was having a particular impact on grip – after locking his right-front and finding the escape road near the barriers to make his way back to the circuit.

The spits of rain seemed to catch out the Ferrari drivers, who were last in the order with just over 20 minutes to go as they waited to set their flying times on the soft.

When they did, both improved, but Sainz only took 13th, while Charles Leclerc was 16th – after the duo had been second and third in FP1, with Leclerc ahead.

Leclerc also had a wild moment in the early stages of FP2 as he caught a massive oversteer snap going through Turn 9, after he had turned in wide from the outside kerbs on approach and gone suddenly sideways, something he described as a "scary one" over his team radio.

Behind the top three in the final order after the soft tyre runs came Aston pair Stroll and Vettel, then the AlphaTauri duo Tsunoda and Gasly.

Fernando Alonso was frustrated by encountering traffic at the final turns on several occasions in FP2, which he ended in eighth place for Alpine.

Lando Norris and Antonio Giovinazzi – back in for FP2 after giving up his car to Callum Ilott in FP1 – rounded out the top 10.

Norris was another driver to have an off-track incident late in the session, with the McLaren driver spinning exiting the first corner after losing the rear of his car as he accelerated off the big kerbs on the outside.

He spun sideways and to the inside of the track, where he was able to recover, with heavily flat-spotted soft tyres.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 31 1'04.523
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 34 1'04.712 0.189
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 35 1'04.740 0.217
4 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 33 1'05.139 0.616
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 37 1'05.268 0.745
6 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 37 1'05.356 0.833
7 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 38 1'05.379 0.856
8 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 34 1'05.393 0.870
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 34 1'05.466 0.943
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 32 1'05.511 0.988
11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 39 1'05.516 0.993
12 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 36 1'05.527 1.004
13 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 37 1'05.620 1.097
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 33 1'05.624 1.101
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 32 1'05.698 1.175
16 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 33 1'05.708 1.185
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 36 1'05.819 1.296
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 35 1'05.911 1.388
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 38 1'06.014 1.491
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 35 1'06.173 1.650
shares
comments
Austrian GP practice as it happened
Previous article

Austrian GP practice as it happened

Next article

Hamilton: "Small progress" not enough to overcome Red Bull F1 gap

Hamilton: "Small progress" not enough to overcome Red Bull F1 gap
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021