George Russell led the course in his Mercedes W13, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull). Max Verstappen had problems after changing the protective gearbox. The session was interrupted by the Carlos Sainz accident.
Good signs were given by Mercedes leading the second free practice, through George Russell (Mercedes F1 W13 / Mercedes), who was the fastest on the track, beating Charles Leclerc (Ferrari F1-75) by 0.106sec. Third on the course for Sergio Perez (Red Bull RB18), the only Red Bull rider to record a time, as Max Verstappen (Red Bull RB18) had hydraulic problems, putting him back in the pits, after falling behind on the track because the team was changing gearbox for their seat singles.
After leaving the track on his first free practice, Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo C42/Ferrari) did not leave the pits because the car was not ready in time. Another good sign, the fact that eight different teams made it into the top ten.
This was a fairly eventful session, and after the riders adapted to the track, this second free practice actually did much more for the teams to work towards qualifying and racing. The first session is for learning and the second for action.
The highlight is clearly the fact that Mercedes has put its two singles seats at the top of the table and with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes F1 W13/Mercedes) fourth, a clear sign that things are starting to improve for Mercedes. We never forget that Red Bull and Ferrari had problems in this session and were late. In any case, and even if the Mercedes improvement must be confirmed tomorrow, the remaining signals are good, which also confirms that George Russell is still more comfortable with the W13 than Hamilton.
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari F1-75) crashed with about 17 minutes into the session. The Spaniard entered the top and hit the walls with some force, interrupting the course. He didn’t return and after he topped the timelines, he was only 11th. Still unlucky, Sainz didn’t even get away with a hard hit in the head on the iron when he tried to enter a slot in the pitlane net. There is nothing that has not happened to you.
The only positive point is that Ferrari has shown that they are doing really well in this area. Red Bull, who has mechanical problems, is having more difficulties, but Perez’s third place at 0.212sec is not bad at all…
Positive references also to Alpine where Fernando Alonso (Alpine A522 / Renault) finished fifth as the team put two singles seats in the top ten, a positive sign.
Lando Norris (McLaren MCL36/Mercedes) finished sixth and best among the McLarens team, and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren MCL36/Mercedes) was only 12th, proving that he is still miles behind his teammate. As a bench seat, it doesn’t look like it could be anywhere close to the best in this respect.
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri AT03/Red Bull) was seventh, ahead of positive player Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo C42/Ferrari) who had put himself in eighth, on a day when Alfa Romeo had only one car on the track.
Esteban Ocon (Alpine A522/Renault) finished ninth, and closing in on the top ten was Haas’ best, with Kevin Magnussen (Haas VF-22/Ferrari) ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari F1-75). This was followed by Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri AT03/Red Bull), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin AMR22/Mercedes), Mick Schumacher (Haas VF-22/Ferrari), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin AMR22/Mercedes), Alexander Albon (Williams FW44)/ Mercedes) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams FW44/Mercedes) who did not complete the session. Aston Martins are still pretty bad, with Vettel doing slightly better than the Stroll.
With about 10 minutes on the track, 1 Charles Leclerc put his Ferrari ahead with a 1m31.131s lead on the medium tyres. Soon, Sergio Perez climbed to the top. Alex Albon had a slight exit at Williams, without consequences, in the seventh turn.
Soon it was Carlos Sainz’s turn to put Ferrari at the top of the schedule with 1m 31.463secs on a medium frame. Mick Schumacher had to dig due to a sidewall slip on Haas.
Carlos Sainz cut his record best to 1 minute 30.964 seconds, putting him 0.167 seconds ahead of Leclerc.
With about 17 minutes into the session, Carlos Sainz climbed onto the top and hit the walls with some force bringing the session to a halt. The red flag was shown to remove the Spanish Ferrari.
In the reboots, it was noted that it showed Ferrari was already running with some difficulty, in the area they ended up in Turn 12.
After the restart, Sergio Perez started sharing Ferraris with 1m31.029s at Red Bull, while Max Verstappen was still in the pit, and left shortly after, but didn’t spend as much time on the track as the brakes started to burn. I delayed Stroll, who narrowly avoided Verstappen, but the stewards chose not to take action, as the Red Bull driver was clearly riding with great difficulty.
In between, Leclerc moved up the table on soft tyres, clocking 1m30.044s, shortly after George Russell putting his Mercedes on top with 1m29.938s on soft tyres.
20 minutes before the end of the session, Russell was in front ahead of Leclerc and Perez, while Hamilton was in fourth, ahead of Alonso, Norris, Gasly, Cho, Akon and Magnussen.
With 12 minutes left in the session, Nicholas Latifi stopped on the track. The session was interrupted.
After his accident, Carlos Sainz fell to the table and 10 minutes from the end he was already 11th, ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Stroll, Albon, Latifi, Verstappen and Bottas, the latter without any time recorded. The Dutchman was still on the road, but he didn’t cut any laps.
Near the end, Sergio Perez veered slightly off the track, at Turn 10, when trying to overtake Vettel, without consequences.
Kevin Magnussen turned 7 near the end, but he turned again. Shortly thereafter, Vettel did the same.