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FP2 report: Hamilton completes Friday double, Verstappen 0.6 seconds behind

FP2 report: Hamilton completes Friday double, Verstappen 0.6 seconds behind

08-10-2021 14:00
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Lewis Hamilton has topped the second free practice session ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix. The seven-time World Champion completes the Friday double after topping the morning's FP1 on the day Mercedes confirmed they installed a new ICE in Hamilton's car. His World Championship rival Max Verstappen finished fifth after understeer issues played a part in his fastest laps. 

At the start of FP1, Mercedes confirmed Hamilton will get a new ICE and therefore drop back ten places from his qualifying position. But the Brit is in fine form ahead of the meaningful sessions on Saturday and Sunday. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top three on a weekend where the team desperately need him to perform. 

Red Bull Racing sat over half a second behind Hamilton on the leaderboard, with Sergio Perez finding himself ahead of his teammate. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc produced a strong lap early in the session. His 1:23.970 was enough to go second and almost challenged Hamilton's P1 time. On his fastest lap, Hamilton experianced some traffic in sector two. 

Busy track

As is the norm in 2021 with practice sessions reduced to just 60 minutes, an early exodus out of the pits created a busy circuit. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc set the first fastest lap but was bettered by Sergio Perez, and then Leclerc again. An Alpine and an Aston Martin car virtually stopped out on the circuit in the final sequence of corners as they looked to create a gap to the car ahead. It caused a dangerous situation as Hamilton emerged on a hot lap. 

On the team radio, Verstappen reported that he had minor balance issues. He found himself down in P8 after the first 20 minutes. Drivers continued to burn off the soft tyres, firmly suggesting that they won't be used much during the race. 

Just ahead of the halfway mark, Hamilton moved to the top of the timesheets. The Brit went purple in the final two sectors but had some traffic in the middle sector around the long turn eight. At almost the same time, Verstappen had some understeer on his fast lap, and he sat a full second behind Hamilton. On a second attempt, the Dutchman improved but still sat 0.635 seconds behind. 

Long runs

The long runs dominated the second half of the session as usual in FP2. Perhaps the highlight of the session came when Kimi Raikkonen's frustrations boiled over on the team radio because Alfa Romeo struggled to fix his water issue. The Finn lost valuable time on the circuit. 

Pierre Gasly had a moment at turn six and ruined a set of tyres. He touched the exit kerb with the rear-tyre and spun around. He demonstrated that understeer was a common problem up and down the grid. 

The live race pace leaderboard also made good reading for Hamilton. His on-track pace sat at 1:27.7, four-tenths faster than Verstappen which will be helpful for the Brit who needs to fight his way through the field. Bottas was a further two tenths behind Verstappen. All drivers used the medium compound. 

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