FP2 Imola: Mercedes dominate once again as disaster strikes early on for Verstappen
This morning’s FP1 session was an action-packed hour filled with quite a few unfortunate spins and a collision between Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.
The drama continued this afternoon with Mercedes dominating once again followed closely by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.
Disaster struck Max Verstappen early on as technical issues saw him miss out on most of the second practice session after completing just five laps.
Ferrari continued to show great pace, until a collision with the barrier on Turn 19 sent Charles Leclerc back to the pits on foot, summoning a red flag, and bringing an end to this afternoon’s proceedings.
After an incident this morning brought Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s session to an abrupt end, both were straight out on track this afternoon after some speedy repairs.
Following an investigation into the collision, the stewards ruled that there would be no punishment for either driver this weekend.
Disaster struck early on for Max Verstappen, who was seen going slow along the main straight with 49 minutes to go.
The Dutch Red Bull driver reported issues with the rear of his RB16B and had to pull in at the entrance to the pit lane – ending his session this afternoon after just five laps.
More bad luck in Italy! 😩 Max encounters a problem on the start finish straight and is forced to pull over, putting an end to his session. #ImolaGPpic.twitter.com/cA9PAayJLN
As we reached the halfway mark of FP2, Mercedes held onto their familiar position at the front of the field, however, this time around the pair was temporarily split by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in P2.
Valtteri Bottas was running fastest with a time of 1:15.5s, with the W12 of Lewis Hamilton close behind in P3.
However, minutes later the British driver found pace once again in his Mercedes, and returned to second place on the timesheets, just 0.010s off his teammate.
The session came to an end with four minutes to go after Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari had a snap of oversteer coming into Turn 19 resulting in a collision with the barriers.
Although it marked a definitive end for the Monegasque driver, the team has shown some promising pace already this weekend, closing out the afternoon with Sainz in P4 and Leclerc in P5.
At the end of today’s session, it was another one-two finish for the Mercedes teammates – Valtteri Bottas holding onto P1, followed by Lewis Hamilton in P2.
Pierre Gasly’s impressive showing this morning carried over to FP2, as he crossed the line third fastest, ahead of the prancing horses.
At the other end of the timesheets were Haas rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin in P19 and P20.
After mending Mazpein’s Haas, following a number of spins this morning, the Russian driver returned to the track this afternoon running more successful laps behind his teammate who seems to have better luck with the VF21 so far this season.