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
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021