Sergio Perez tops FP2 in Austin as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clash

22-10-2021 22:00 | Updated: 22-10-2021 22:06
F1 News
Sergio Perez tops FP2 in Austin as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clash

Sergio Perez was quickest of all in free practice two ahead of the United States Grand Prix, as Red Bull found some pace and clawed back the advantage Mercedes held in FP1. The Silver Arrows were almost one second quicker than their title challengers in the first session, but with Perez, the Austrain outfit were supreme in FP2.

While the Mexican driver has struggled for much of this season, he was supremely quick around Austin. He was 0.878 seconds quicker than his teammate Max Verstappen's best effort, with the Dutchman all the way down in P8 - although his race run pace was encouraging.

Like Perez, Lando Norris had an excellent session, with the Brit beating out both Mercedes cars, and finishing second quickest. Behind him came Lewis Hamilton and then Valtteri Bottas.

The rest of the top 10 looked like this: Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi.

Perhaps the most controversial moment of the entire session was yet another tense incident between the two title rivals. Verstappen was getting ready for a flying lap, and Hamilton decided to jump the Dutchman at the final corner. This continued until the first corner where the pair came close to contact. This certainly didn't please Verstappen who called the Brit a "stupid idiot."

Either way, neither of them were able to better Perez's time, who will take confidence into Saturday's qualifying.

As it happened

On a roasting hot day in Austin, drivers were keen to get plenty of laps in straight from the get-go. With the United States Grand Prix cancelled in 2020, it's been two years since these drivers have experienced the circuit in person, so running was deemed necessary for every driver.

Red Bull and Mercedes unsurprisingly showed their class, and immediately went to the top of the standings.

McLaren, and Ferrari are, of course, locked in a battle for third place in the Constructors' Championship, but the papaya's star driver Lando Norris was forced to pit after just one lap after saying on his radio: "Something's come loose on my elbow, I can't turn." That issue was quickly fixed, and his first flying lap was good enough for P5, ahead of both Scuderia drivers.

Issues seemed more frequent than usual as both Nikita Mazepin and Charles Leclerc joined Norris in expressing problems that needed to be looked at.

They weren't the only ones frustrated on the radio, as Max Verstappen expressed even more displeasure at title rival Lewis Hamilton as mentiond earlier. It's fair to say tensions are at an all-time high between the pair.

While those drivers struggled with issues, Sergio Perez certainly didn't as the Mexican found his groove to set the fastest time of all on the medium tyres.

Then came the switch to the soft tyres.

Lance Stroll showed more speed than Aston Martin have all season, by going P2, just 0.201 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas' first time on that fresh set of tyres.

Lewis Hamilton's first run of the session was deleted for exceeding track limits, and his second was only good enough for P3 - slower than Lando Norris in the McLaren, and Perez, who put in another great lap on the softs.

The order then stayed much the same as teams used the final 20 minutes to gather race run data, with the drivers heading out for consecutive laps.

Final Standings

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