Perez fastest from Norris, Verstappen frustrated by Hamilton

Are Red Bull back in the mix at the United States GP? Sergio Perez sets pace in second practice, although Lewis Hamilton would have been 0.1s clear if not for track limits infringement; Hamilton also goes wheel-to-wheel with a frustrated Max Verstappen, who finishes down in eighth

Last Updated: 22/10/21 11:14pm

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel during Practice Two ahead of the United States GP.

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel during Practice Two ahead of the United States GP.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel during Practice Two ahead of the United States GP.

Sergio Perez topped second practice for the United States GP as Red Bull hit back at Mercedes, who surprisingly dropped off their early pace and behind McLaren’s Lando Norris at the end of an intriguing Friday.

Red Bull had been dominated by Mercedes in Austin’s first session – trailing the world champions by the best part of a second – but were much more competitive in a mixed-up P2 session as the qualifying simulations started.

It was not championship leader Max Verstappen who led Red Bull’s charge but Perez, with his 1:34.946 two tenths faster than Norris in an unexpected top two – they had placed seventh and eighth earlier in the day.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were third and fourth for Mercedes, three and four tenths off the pace, although how representative those positions are is certainly up for debate.

Both Hamilton and Bottas were some way adrift of the eye-catching pace they had managed in the supposedly slower P1, while Hamilton also would have topped P2, albeit not by much, if not for exceeding track limits at Turn 19 on his best lap.

Hamilton also went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen in practice and the title rivals were very close to colliding, a frustrating moment in what was a very frustrating session for the Dutchman. “Stupid idiot,” said Verstappen, who raised his middle finger at the seven-time world champion after being passed up the inside into Turn 1.

Verstappen then didn’t manage to set a single quick lap on the soft tyre, aborting not one but two laps due to traffic. “I’m boxing. **** this,” said Verstappen, who would finish down in eighth and 0.8s adrift.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wasn't best pleased with his FP2 pace ahead of the United States GP.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wasn’t best pleased with his FP2 pace ahead of the United States GP.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wasn’t best pleased with his FP2 pace ahead of the United States GP.

Hamilton, though, also wasn’t too pleased with his second session.

“I wasn’t happy in P2,” he said. “I think we lost some ground to everyone – or they gained ground.”

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the other McLaren ahead of Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc in the lead Ferrari, who still have hopes of beating McLaren this weekend despite falling behind ahead of a crucial qualifying day on Sky Sports F1.

Final practice is live at 7pm before qualifying at 10pm, with extensive Sky F1 build-up from 8.30pm.

United States GP Practice Two Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:34.945
2) Lando Norris McLaren +0.257
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.364
4) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.414
5) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +0.511
6) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.615
7) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.626
8) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.878
9) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.973
10) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1.192
11) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.212
12) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1.296
13) Fernando Alonso Alpine +1.430
14) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.612
15) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1.772
16) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +2.037
17) Mick Schumacher Haas +2.095
18) Nicholas Latifi Williams +2.308
19) George Russell Williams +2.544
20) Nikita Mazepin Haas +3.080

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