Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen continued to set the pace at the Bahrain International Circuit as he set the quickest lap of the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The opening part of the 60-minute session saw much of the running conducted on medium compound tyres with Verstappen leading the way early thanks to a lap of 1:31.842 after an early P1 time from Hamilton was deleted for exceeding track limits.
The champion was soon back on top, however. Mercedes team-mate Valtteri
Bottas briefly held sway but a second run on mediums that yielded a lap of 1:31.261 took Hamilton back to the top of the order.
It was during this phase of the session that the season’s first brush with barriers occurred. Kimi Räikkönen lost control on the exit of Turn 2 and the Alfa Romeo driver slid off into the barriers damaging both ends of his car. The Finn was able to keep his car going, however, and he was able to limp back to the pits for repairs.
When the field made the switch to soft tyres for performance runs soon after the incident, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was the first to make a step up, topping the timesheet with a lap of 1:31.127. Hamilton then found five hundredths of a second to take P1 again before Norris usurped him with a lap of 1:30.942.
Verstappen, though, had just emerged on track and at the end of his soft-tyre run the Dutch driver had edged ahead of the McLaren man by 0.095s to set the fastest lap of the session. Verstappen also posted the best times in the final two sectors.
With the performance runs completed the field then switched the traditional FP2 long-run data gathering.
Behind Hamilton Carlos Sainz was fourth for Ferrari with a lap of 1:31.127. That was good enough to put him almost a tenth ahead of Bottas, with the Finnish Mercedes shading the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo by just over a hundredth of a second.
Yuki Tsunoda continued to impress for AlphaTauri with the Japanese rookie setting the seventh fastest time. His lap of 1:31.294 saw him finish a tenth ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and two tenths ahead of more experienced AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly.
The final top 10 position was taken by Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull. The Mexican ended the session with a best time of 1:31.503 to sit 0.656s behind Verstappen.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 23 1:30.847
2 Lando Norris McLaren 25 1:30.942 0.095
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24 1:31.082 0.235
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 26 1:31.127 0.280
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 23 1:31.218 0.371
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 22 1:31.230 0.383
7 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 23 1:31.294 0.447
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 24 1:31.393 0.546
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 27 1:31.483 0.636
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull 23 1:31.503 0.656
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine 24 1:31.601 0.754
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 26 1:31.612 0.765
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 27 1:31.740 0.893
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 26 1:31.769 0.922
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine 24 1:31.770 0.923
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 15 1:31.862 1.015
17 George Russell Williams 28 1:32.331 1.484
18 Mick Schumacher Haas 24 1:33.297 2.450
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 28 1:33.400 2.553
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 19 1:33.449 2.602