Friday night heralded the first glimpse of F1 cars turning laps on a floodlit Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and it was Lewis Hamilton who went top in FP2 ahead of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. The session was then red-flagged with under five minutes remaining for a heavy Charles Leclerc crash.
Leclerc crashed his Ferrari at high speed late in the session having spun into the barriers at Turn 23, thankfully climbing out of the car and walking away – his chassis clearly having taken the brunt of the impact. He finished 10th in the session.
Hamilton’s first soft-tyred run yielded a scary moment when he encountered a slow-moving Haas exiting Turn 10 midway through the session, but the FP1 leader had already set the fastest time of 1m 29.018s on mediums, his team mate Bottas just 0.061s back in P2 (also on mediums) and Gasly another 0.020s off in P3 for AlphaTauri – albeit on soft tyres.
As for Verstappen, the championship leader complained that he couldn’t get his front soft compounds into the right temperature window after his first runs. The Dutchman extended his qualifying run in FP2 with an eye on Saturday’s crucial session, and finished fourth having set his fastest lap on softs.
Alpine continued to show competitive pace as this weekend they aim to consolidate fifth in the constructors’ championship. Fernando Alonso finished fifth and Esteban Ocon sixth, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished just behind in P7 – all three setting their benchmarks on softs.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 2 results
|4 MaxVERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing||+0.195s|