Istanbul FP2: Hamilton Tops, Verstappen struggles

Hamilton fastest in FP2 at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul

Little changed for Lewis Hamilton between FP1 and FP2 of 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, as his reign prevailed on Friday’s proceedings in Istanbul while Max Verstappen’s struggles continued.

Hamilton was fastest yet again during FP2, as he set the benchmark with a time of 1:23.804 on a day where title rival Max Verstappen had no answer for the Briton’s pace, ending up in fifth place over 6 tenths off the pace.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc continued his strong form and was second, 0.166s off Hamilton’s time, with Carlos Sainz 12th fastest in the sister Ferrari, 1.099s off the pace.

Valtteri Bottas seems to have found some speed in his W12, and took third fastest but was four tenths slower than his teammate, while the other wingman, Sergio Perez, came fourth over a tenth down on the Finn, and ahead of Verstappen for a change.

With Verstappen fifth, Lando Norris went one place better in his McLaren to take sixth place 0.721s off the top spot, with Daniel Ricciardo again out of the top ten in 14th as the Aussie seems unable to unlock the pace of his MCL35M and worryingly half a second slower than Norris.

Fernando Alonso took seventh over 8 tenths down on the benchmark time and closely chased by teammate Esteban Ocon who was only 0.012s slower than the Spaniard.

Pierre Gasly put his AT02 in 9th place, 0.952s slower than the benchmark time, with a surprise appearance for Antonio Giovinazzi who came tenth for Alfa Romeo, a further 0.040 behind Gasly.

Notably, the Aston Martin duo were missing from the top 10 during both sessions with Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel 13th and 16th respectively in FP2, with both drivers struggling with their AMR21’s.

If Hamilton can maintain his pace advantage, and unless Verstappen and Red Bull find some solution to get their fancy liveried RB16B faster overnight, then the Mercedes ace is set to negate his grid penalty disadvantage.

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