Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were quickest in FP2 with Max Verstappen in P4 behind Pierre Gasly.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was once again the first car out on track but this time it was the floodlights greeting him rather than the evening sunshine. Unlike FP1 where the Mercedes cars remained in the garages for most of the opening ten minutes, this time Lewis Hamilton, the last to leave, was out just a lap after Sainz.
(FP2) Second Practice Results – 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
The earlier exit didn’t work out too well for Valtteri Bottas as he locked up and reported back to Mercedes that the tyres, especially the rears, weren’t ready yet.
Lando Norris, the only driver out on soft tyres at the start, was the initial pacesetter with a 1:30.771 but it was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the quickest driver for most of the first practice session, who was holding that position again with a 1:30.106 on mediums before the first ten minutes had past.
Around the fifteen minute mark the times they were a-changing, Yuki Tsunoda briefly went to the top of the times for AlphaTauri with a 1:29.597 on hards before Verstappen reclaimed it with a 1:29.290. However, Bottas had got his tyres in working order and went two tenths faster, a 1:29.079. The Finn wasn’t top of the pile for long though as a few minutes later Hamilton eeked out just over half a tenth on his teammate with a 1:29.018. The Mercedes and Red Bull all on the medium compound at that stage of the session.
Halfway through the session all cars had swapped onto the soft compound of tyres but while there weren’t many big lap times changes, Gasly slotting into P3 ahead of Verstappen the biggest change, there were some moments that got the heart rate jumping around as there were many near misses between slow-moving traffic and full-speed cars on the narrow, twisty parts of the circuit.
With ten minutes to go the yellow flags were out for Nikita Mazepin as he lost the rear at turn 2 and Hamilton, right behind, had to take avoiding action. The Haas recovered without any damage but the same couldn’t be said for Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari a few minutes later. The Monegasque lost his car at T22, and went backwards at speed into the barriers, Leclerc climbed out and was fine but the car will need a lot of work and the session was red flagged and not restarted.
Fernando Alonso finished P5 with a 1:29.441 with his Alpine teammate, Esteban Ocon, just over a tenth behind in P6. Sainz was P7 for Ferrari, 0.571 seconds off Hamilton’s best effort.
Tsunonda ended P8 with his briefly chart-topping 1:29.597 while Sergio Perez slotted the second Red Bull into P9 0.750 seconds off the Mercedes while, before his session ending crash, Leclerc was just four thousandths slower than Perez with a 1:29.772.
Charles Leclerc went off into the barriers at Turn 22, causing an early end to FP2
Thankfully he was able to get out of the car himself and confirm he was ok#SaudiArabianGP 🇸🇦 #F1 pic.twitter.com/wif6Pau2N4
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 3, 2021