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F1 | Mexico GP | Verstappen hits back at Mercedes and leads second practice with ease, with the lead Mercedes four tenths of a second behind

The Red Bull driver showed impressive pace all session, and looks set for a strong weekend, with the nearest Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas over four tenths back. Championship rival Hamilton finished P3, more than half a second back from Verstappen. Home favourite Perez ended the day P4.

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F1 | Mexico GP | Verstappen hits back at Mercedes and leads second practice with ease, with the lead Mercedes four tenths of a second behind
Fuente imagen: Twitter @RedBullRacing

The second practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez began with a heavy traffic jam in the final sector, for the annoyance of championship contender Lewis Hamilton, who was caught up in the middle of a whole bunch of cars and had to abort his first flying lap of the session.

Title rival Max Verstappen started the session on the right foot, setting the timing screens alight with fast laps on the medium, C3 tyres. Teammate Sergio Perez was 0.5s adrift. Hamilton had his first representative lap deleted due to a localized yellow flag, and shortly after locked up into turn 1 and damaged both of his front tyres, with Bottas having done the same thing shortly before.

Williams endured a difficult session with George Russell, who reported his gearbox was “gone” 15 minutes into the session, and the Briton limped into the pits for his team to take a look at his car. Russell jumped out of his car 25 minutes into the session, and didn’t hit the track anymore, failing to set a valid lap time.

Penalty-bound Yuki Tsunoda showed impressive early pace in his AlphaTauri, along with teammate Pierre Gasly, as they momentarily held P3 and P4 when the session approached the half-way mark, just ahead of the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel, who had a mishap coming into his put box and ended up making fun of it.

As the usual FP2 qualifying simulations unfolded, it was Max Verstappen who showed the way for the field, an impressive 0.42s ahead of the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas – who, interestingly, set his fastest time on a set of soft. C4 compound tyres that were 10 laps into their life cycle. The other Mercedes of Hamilton was close behind, followed by home hero Sergio Perez, who had a bit of catching-up to do after his FP1 mishap.

Carlos Sainz showed impressive pace in his Ferrari, leading the midfield with a time good enough for P5, just ahead of Gasly’s AlphaTauri. Completing the top 10 were: Leclerc, Tsunoda, Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

Unusually for 2021, neither McLaren featured in the top 10, with gearbox issues ending Daniel Ricciardo’s day of work early – P15 in the end, and Lando Norris finishing P12, 1.6s off the pace of Max Verstappen.

Alfa Romeo enjoyed a decent day, with Kimi Raikkonen 11th, two places ahead of teammate Giovinazzi, who is still uncertain about his F1 future

Another driver with a grid penalty looming is Lance Stroll, who focused on doing race runs and ended the session in 17th place, ahead of the Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who narrowly missed the wall at turn 16 after locking up, 11 minutes from the end of the session.

At the very end of the session, Charles Leclerc reported to be struggling with engine issues on his Ferrari, but the Monegasque carried on his way to the end the day 7th fastest.

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