Monday, April 15, 2024

Verstappen Tops Free Practice 2 in Miami

The second free practice session of the Miami Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen set the fastest time ahead of the Scuderia Ferrari’s, with Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing second and Charles Leclerc in third. Verstappen and Leclerc swapped fastest laps early on in the session, but Verstappen was able to solidify his lead on soft tyres.

Verstappen’s fastest lap was a 1m 27.930s, which was four-tenths of a second faster than Sainz’s time. Leclerc was only a tenth of a second behind Sainz but brought out the only red flag of the session when he crashed into the barriers at Turn 7.

Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari after wrestling with a snap of oversteer, locked up, and sent his car front-first into the barriers. The incident happened with only 10 minutes remaining in the session, meaning the Ferrari driver had no chance to return to track. Verstappen’s fastest lap was impressive, especially considering he had complained of discomfort from his ‘HANS protection device’.

Sainz finished second in the session, four-tenths of a second behind Verstappen, while Leclerc finished third and only a tenth of a second behind Sainz. Sergio Perez finished fourth, half a second off the pace, while Fernando Alonso finished fifth, seven-tenths of a second off the pace. Lando Norris briefly led the session when soft-tyred running began but ultimately finished sixth, with Lewis Hamilton in seventh.

Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Lance Stroll finished eighth for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, a second off the pace, while Esteban Ocon was just 0.007s back in ninth for BWT Alpine F1 Team. Alex Albon was a whisker off in tenth for Williams Racing, with a brief lock-up hampering his qualifying simulation.

Pierre Gasly finished 11th for Alpine, ahead of 12th-placed Kevin Magnussen. The Danish Haas F1 Team driver spun and brushed the wall at Turn 11, avoiding damage to finish ahead of the Alfa Romeos: Zhou Guanyu in thirteenth and Valtteri Bottas in fourteenth.

George Russell, who was the fastest driver in the first practice session, finished down in fifteenth. Russell ran wide at Turn 11 just before Leclerc’s Turn 7 crash. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri finished in sixteenth place, with Nico Hulkenberg in seventeenth. Hulkenberg had crashed out of the first practice session but made it to seventeenth in the second practice after remarkable work by the team to repair the car..

Yuki Tsunoda finished eighteenth for Scuderia AlphaTauri, with Nyck de Vries in ninteenth and Logan Sargeant in last place, around two seconds off the pace.

The Miami Grand Prix is a new addition to the Formula 1 calendar and has already proven to be a challenging circuit for the drivers. The circuit is a mix of high-speed straights and tight corners, which require a delicate balance between speed and control. The track is also narrow in places, making it difficult for drivers to overtake.

The teams will now use the data from this session to fine-tune their setups ahead of qualifying on Saturday. Qualifying will be crucial at the Miami Grand Prix, as overtaking is difficult on the tight and twisty circuit.