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Hamilton sets the pace in second session

NEWS STORY
10/12/2021

Ahead of today's second session, the air temperature is 25.6 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31.9 degrees. There is 0% chance of rain, race control helpfully advises.

Due to the qualifying and the race taking place in the evening this morning's session was fairly unrepresentative though it did allow the teams to gather some much needed data following the various track changes.

Max Verstappen was quickest ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, the Briton having had his best time deleted for exceeding the track limits at Turn 15.

With Perez fourth and the Alpha Tauri pair 5th and 7th - sandwiching Alonso - as in Jeddah the Honda powered cars are looking strong, as were the Ferraris.

Track limits, which are in force at Turns 7, 15 and 16 proved to be a problem for a number of drivers, with 16, the final corner, clearly the worst.

Having handed his car over to Jack Aitken earlier, George Russell is back in the Williams this afternoon.

The lights go green and as was the case earlier Raikkonen leads the way, followed by Giovinazzi and Bottas. As more drivers head out most are on mediums, though Raikkonen is on hards and Norris on softs.

As the title contenders head out, both on mediums, Russell is also on hards.

Raikkonen posts a 26.603 but countryman Bottas responds with a 25.339.

No sooner has Norris gone top with a 25.153 than Hamilton stops the clock at 25.127.

Verstappen's initial 25.529 is good enough for fifth, behind Sainz.

"The bumps on the side of the headrest are bigger than usual," says Ocon.

Leclerc is told he needs to warm his brakes for the last part of the lap.

A mistake at Turn 7 sees Hamilton have his next time deleted as Raikkonen improves to tenth with a 25.958.

Next time around Hamilton improves to 24.943, while Verstappen responds with a 24.989. However, the Dutchman's time is deleted for exceeding the limits at Turn 16.

Bottas clouts the barrier on the outside of Turn 14 with his right-rear. "You might want to check," he admits, "small contact with the wall."

A 25.114 sees Ocon (medium) go second, just 0.171s down on Hamilton.

As Leclerc crosses the line at 25.104 to usurp Ocon, Latifi is off at Turn 13 and damages his rear wing as he clouts the barrier.

Meanwhile Verstappen posts a 25.065 to go second, only to have Hamilton extend the gap with a 24.126.

Raikkonen and Leclerc have their times deleted, demoting the Ferrari driver back to 6th.

On softs, Ricciardo improves to fifth with a 25.192, the Australian subsequently posting a 24.959 to go third behind Bottas (24.272).

Like Leclerc in FP1, Alonso is sporting a visor-cam as he improves to second with a 24.225. Alpine teammate Ocon posts a 24.388 to go fourth.

However, the Spaniards' time is deleted thereby promoting his teammate to third.

Now on softs, Bottas goes quickest with a 24.083, as teammate Hamilton heads out on the red-banded rubber.

Quickest in the second sector, Hamilton crosses the line at 24.083 to go top.

PBs in the first two sectors are followed by a third as Verstappen can only mange third with a 24.332, 0.249s off Bottas' pace.

Moments later Ocon goes quickest with a 24.034, the Frenchman quickest in the second sector.

A lock-up at Turn 12 sees Bottas send up a great cloud of tyre smoke. Prior to that the Finn had posted two purples. Moments later, Mazepin makes a mistake at the same corner.

Tsunoda goes sixth, ahead of Leclerc, Perez, Sainz and Ricciardo.

As Verstappen goes for a double cool down, Hamilton goes quickest in S1. Posting a PB in S2 the world champion crosses the line at 23.691 to go top by 0.343.

Meanwhile, Bottas has switched to mediums.

With 21:00 remaining and most drivers having completed their qualifying sims and switched focus to Sunday, it's: Hamilton, Ocon, Bottas, Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Tsunoda, Leclerc, Sainz and Gasly.

All are on track bar Raikkonen, the majority on mediums but a few still on softs.

Over 5 laps on the softs, Verstappen is averaging 28.1s, while Bottas averages 28.8 over 8 laps on mediums, Perez 29.0 over 5 laps on mediums and Hamilton 29.1s over 5 laps on the yellow-banded rubber.

Verstappen unusually favours the softs, while Perez is looking better on mediums. The Bulls clearly better on long run pace here as opposed to single lap pace.

"Aw come on," sighs Vettel on being told his latest lap time has been deleted.

As the session ends, Raikkonen crashes into the barrier at Turn 14.

The session is red-flagged even though it is over.

The Finn climbs from the Alfa which is quite badly damaged having hit the barriers with the rear and then the front.

Hamilton is quickest, ahead of Ocon, Bottas, Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Tsunoda, Leclerc, Sainz and Gasly.

Ricciardo is eleventh, ahead of Giovinazzi, Norris, Vettel, Stroll, Raikkonen, Russell, Latifi, Schumacher and Mazepin.

Check out our Friday gallery from Yas Marina, here.

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