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Hamilton heads Mercedes 1-2 in FP2

NEWS STORY
02/07/2021

Ahead of today's second session, the air temperature is 20 degrees C, while the track temperature is 32 degrees. There is a 60% chance of rain, which is 20% up on FP1 which was held under bright and sunny conditions.

As was the case earlier, drivers will be testing the new rear tyre that Pirelli intends to introduce at Silverstone following the 'issues' encountered at Baku.

Verstappen set the pace earlier, ahead of the Ferrari pair, however it was noticeable how much both Maranello drivers struggled for grip, Leclerc suffering particularly badly at Turn 1.

Though there were no major incidents, there were numerous offs and spins not to mention times deleted due to exceeding the limits.

With their cars handed over to their teams reserve drivers earlier, this afternoon marks the first time that Alonso, Giovinazzi and Russell have sampled the Red Bull Ring since... well, last Sunday.

On balance, the AlphaTauri looked good earlier - Gasly keen to make up for last weekend's disappointment - while Raikkonen was a very impressive 6th quickest.

The lights go green and was the case earlier there is a mad rush to get to work, with no less than 11 drivers already waiting in the pitlane. Again there is a mixture of compounds with a number of drivers running the prototypes.

Sainz reports a few spots of rain.

"That's dangerous," says Leclerc as he comes cross a train of cars all waiting to enter the pits.

Of the first wave, Verstappen goes quickest (5.773), ahead of Tsunoda, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Gasly. Just 6 minutes in and all twenty drivers have posted times.

Bottas improves to second with a 5.927 moments after Verstappen raised the bar with a 5.709. Both are on the prototype tyre.

A 6.143 sees Hamilton go fourth, however the Briton is demoted when Gasly posts a 6.135. That said the Frenchman's time is subsequently deleted.

Perez goes fourth with a 5.958 only to be demoted when Gasly posts a 5.866.

Alonso is the first driver to switch to softs, the Spaniard subsequently improving to fourth with a 5.917.

Leclerc is off at Turn 9, the youngster lucky to keep it out of the gravel following a massive snap of oversteer as he entered the corner. "Ooh, f***, that was a scary one," he admits.

Switching from the protos to the mediums, Verstappen raises the bar with a 5.239, while Raikkonen (mediums) goes third with a 5.624.

Having been disappointing in qualifying recently, Alfa is working with Raikkonen in a bid to improve his single-lap pace. It appears to be working.

Perez goes second (5.516), albeit on the softs. The Mexican is another driver struggling in qualifying.

A tirade of expletives after Verstappen feels he was impeded by Norris.

From out of nowhere Vettel produces a 5.268 to go second, ahead of Tsunoda, Gasly and Perez. However, once again, Gasly's time (5.430) is deleted.

Moments later Stroll goes fourth with a 5.364. Both Aston Martin drivers set their times on softs.

Bottas (softs) goes quickest in S1. He maintains the pace in S2, finally crossing the line at 5.602 to go quickest by 0.527s.

The McLaren pair are currently well down the order, Ricciardo 17th and Norris 19th. That said, the Ferrari pair are 16th and 18th.

Verstappen heads out on fresh softs, as does Hamilton.

Hamilton posts a 4.523 having gone quickest in the final two sectors, while Verstappen can only manage 4.740.

Despite Ferrari's insistence to its drivers that the current conditions would remain until the end, there is talk of rain at the other side of the track.

Norris improves to eighth (5.466) and Ricciardo 15th (5.698).

"I can't believe it, I f****** can't believe it, f***, they can't have mirrors" says Alonso, the Spaniard infuriated by a clearly highly inexperienced rookie. "Who was the guy," he asks. "Kimi Raikkonen," comes the reply.

Sainz improves to 13th and Leclerc 16th, as the Ferrari pair continue to struggle.

With around twenty minutes remaining, attention shifts to long runs and the first phase of Sunday's race. Most are on softs, but Red Bull opt for mediums - clearly thinking ahead to Q2 - only for Mercedes to follow suit.

Not for the first time, Gasly has his time deleted, as Verstappen reports rain between Turns 3 and 4.

Moments later, Hamilton goes off at Turn 4, the Briton appearing to carry too much speed into the corner.

"It's just about manageable at the moment," says Christian Horner, "it's starting to get a little bit slippery out there. We're all learning, definitely worth doing the laps at the moment."

"The rain is starting to affect Turn 1," reports Bottas.

On the long runs, Verstappen is the strongest on mediums, ahead of Leclerc and Perez, while Alonso is setting a good pace on softs.

With 5 minutes remaining, Vettel, Sainz, Ricciardo and Russell are running the prototype tyres. All 20 drivers are on track.

Norris spins at Turn 2, as Tsunoda complains about the DRS antics of one of the Aston Martin drivers.

"What damage do you have?" Norris asked. "Talent," he replies.

The session ends. Hamilton is quickest, ahead of Bottas, Verstappen, Stroll, Vettel, Tsunoda, Gasly, Alonso, Norris and Giovinazzi.

Perez is eleventh, ahead of Ocon, Sainz, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Russell, Schumacher, Latifi and Mazepin.

Check out our Friday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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