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FP2 Report: Lewis Hamilton tops his first practice session of the 2021 F1 season!

FP2 Report: Lewis Hamilton tops his first practice session of the 2021 F1 season!

30-04-2021 16:10 Last update: 16:28
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Lewis Hamilton has topped his first practice session of the season. The seven-time world champion posted a 1:19.837 on the soft tyres to record the feat ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix. But if practice is anything to go by, another close battle between Red Bull and Mercedes is on the cards. 

Max Verstappen had some issues at the start of the session but returned to the circuit quickly. The Dutchman finished second, with Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top three. Sergio Perez found himself down in P10. 

Both Alpine drivers found themselves high up on the timesheets, with Ferrari also having a strong afternoon session. It was another troublesome day for Sebastian Vettel who finished well below Lance Stroll in both Friday sessions. 

The usual suspects, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Nicholas Latifi sit at the back of the field. With George Russell in and around the top 10. 

This is how it happened

In a near carbon copy of events at Portimao last season, FP2 had a 10-minute delay due to a problem with the drain covers around the circuit. After the delay, Esteban Ocon became the driver on the circuit. Every single driver was on the grid within three minutes of the green light. 

After 10 minutes, Verstappen complained of a brake by wire issue on the radio. The Red Bull Racing team managed to fix the problem and sent Verstappen back on the circuit within five minutes. The Dutchman then went to the top of the timesheets with a 1:20.322. 

At the halfway point, Hamilton switched to the soft tyres and climbed to the top of the timesheets for the first time. Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi ran wide at turn eight and therefore had a trip across the gravel. The Williams driver kept the car moving. 

In perhaps what is a foreshadow of things to come, Verstappen came fighting back and posted a 1:19.980 with 25 minutes remaining. This lap took him into P2.

The second half of the session saw teams run their race simulations. Mercedes opted to run a hot tyre pitstop because they believe overheating caused the issue in Bottas' pitstop in Imola.  

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