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Mercedes hit back as Hamilton leads one-two in second practice at Red Bull Ring

Photo: F1

Spielberg (Austria), July 2 (MNN) Mercedes returned to the top of the timesheets with a one-two in second practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton led Valtteri Bottas by 0.189s – while Max Verstappen was 0.217s back in P3 for Red Bull, Formula1 said.

Verstappen had topped FP1 on Friday morning, but with the clouds seemingly ready to unleash rain on the Red Bull Ring, the drivers wasted no time setting times on the prototype Pirelli tyres in FP2, with Verstappen setting the early benchmark of 1m05.7s on those tyres before improving to 1m05.239s on medium rubber. But Hamilton eclipsed him on softs by setting the ultimate time of 1m04.523s.

Drivers weren’t forced onto intermediate tyres but the clouds did spit light rain throughout, conditions becoming more slippery with 10 minutes remaining, and preventing anyone from bettering the quickest times set earlier in the session.

Finishing fourth and fifth were the Aston Martin pair, Lance Stroll 0.13s faster than team mate Sebastian Vettel. And behind them lined up the AlphaTauris, sixth-place Yuki Tsunoda a couple of hundredths faster than seventh-place Pierre Gasly.

Fernando Alonso, furious about being blocked by Kimi Raikkonen on a flying lap, finished eighth in the session for Alpine having missed FP1 to allow Guanyu Zhou to make his F1 practice debut in the Spaniard’s car.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was ninth, 0.943s off the pace having spun very late on at Turn 3, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10 having missed FP1 for Ferrari test driver Callum Ilott to drive in his second practice session for the team.

Sergio Perez took P11, nearly eight-tenths slower than team mate Verstappen, as the Red Bull driver failed to string a competitive flying lap together. The last driver within a second of Hamilton, Perez placed just ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, 12th.

Having finished second and third respectively in FP1, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished 16th and 13th for Ferrari in this session.

Between the two Scuderia drivers sat Raikkonen in P14 for Alfa Romeo – the only driver to set his flying effort on mediums in this session (the others were all on softs) – and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in 15th.

George Russell missed FP1 in favour of Roy Nissany and the Williams driver returned in second practice to finish 17th and just over a tenth behind Leclerc, while his team mate Nicholas Latifi was 19th.

Haas’s Mick Schumacher split the Williams in 18th, while team mate Nikita Mazepin was 20th overall in FP2.

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