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
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 22/10/21 11:14pm
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.
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
|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|