Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

Verstappen comfortably ahead of Mercedes pair in second practice

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen led the second practice session for the Mexico City Grand Prix ahead of the morning’s pace-setter Valtteri Bottas.

Behind the Mercedes pair and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez came Carlos Sainz Jnr in the first of the Ferraris, over a second off Verstappen’s pace.

Having been reprimanded in the first session, Lewis Hamilton had a scruffy start to the second. He went off at turn one again, but this time rejoined the track correctly, and lost another effort due to double waved yellow flags. Team mate Bottas also went off at turn one without drama.

Red Bull looked much more competitive with Mercedes during the initial runs, though the RB16Bs were running on the medium instead of the hard compound tyres. When the teams began their qualifying simulations on the softs, Verstappen had a clear edge. Despite a somewhat restrained effort, Verstappen’s time was over half a second faster than Hamilton’s and Bottas was only a tenth closer. Perez, fourth, was half a second off his team mate but set his fastest lap time on medium tyres.

Charles Leclerc joined his Ferrari team mate in the top 10 again, the pair separated by Pierre Gasly. With the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda in eighth, after his strongest Friday performance so far, all four Honda-powered cars appeared in the top half of the times.

For their respective rivals, McLaren and Alpine, things were not so good. Fernando Alonso squeaked into the top ten while Lando Norris was sandwiched by the Alfa Romeos in 12th after what he admitted was a difficult session on both high and low fuel runs.

It was a tougher session for his team mate Daniel Ricciardo who completed just seven laps. McLaren brought him in to investigate a gearbox problem on his MCL35M.

George Russell covered even fewer laps when a problem in the same area of the car struck his Williams on his second lap. His team mate Nicholas Latifi tapped the turn 16 barrier early in the session but was able to continue.

Nikita Mazepin also fell foul of the stewards by rejoining the track incorrectly at turn nine. The Haas driver is under investigation. Sebastian Vettel made a more comical error, pulling into the McLaren pit box instead of Aston Martin’s, before continuing on his way.

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’17.30128
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’17.7250.42431
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’17.8100.50926
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’17.8710.57026
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’18.3181.01729
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.4291.12829
716Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.6051.30428
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.6441.34331
95Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’18.6811.38032
1014Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’18.7321.43127
117Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.8411.54025
124Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.9791.67827
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’19.2271.92631
1431Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’19.4312.13037
153Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’19.5212.2207
1647Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’19.6202.31930
1718Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.7302.42936
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’20.8203.51917
199Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’21.5814.28028
2063George RussellWilliams-Mercedes2

Second practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’17.301

+0.424 Valtteri Bottas – 1’17.725

+0.509 Lewis Hamilton – 1’17.810

+0.570 Sergio Perez – 1’17.871

+1.017 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’18.318

+1.128 Pierre Gasly – 1’18.429

+1.304 Charles Leclerc – 1’18.605

+1.343 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’18.644

+1.380 Sebastian Vettel – 1’18.681

+1.431 Fernando Alonso – 1’18.732

+1.540 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’18.841

+1.678 Lando Norris – 1’18.979

+1.926 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’19.227

+2.130 Esteban Ocon – 1’19.431

+2.220 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.521

+2.319 Mick Schumacher – 1’19.620

+2.429 Lance Stroll – 1’19.730

+3.519 Nicholas Latifi – 1’20.820

+4.280 Nikita Mazepin – 1’21.581

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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38 comments on “Verstappen comfortably ahead of Mercedes pair in second practice”

  1. Zzzzz that’s the championship over.

    1. Benny, I know it’s tough to be a Hamilton fan right now but try to enjoy this championship for what it is – one of the closest ever fought with 2 of the greatest drivers. There are still many ups and downs to come.

      1. To be honest don’t like either of them Alex! It’s been a decent championship year as it’s been between to teams rather than teammates, but it’s faded to nothing. RedBull have the pace advantage now so we’ve just got one dominant car instead of another which I find boring as it removes any Championship battle. I really hope the new rules work so we can have more than one team in with a chance of winning on raw pace.

        1. There’s absolutely no way you can say the championship is over with the amount of points still to be given.

        2. What was the thinking 2 weeks ago after the Friday sessions …. ?? And look how that turned out.

        3. Are you seriously putting Red Bull in 2021 in the same bracket of dominance as Mercedes in 2019 and 2020? How delusional can someone be?

        4. RedBull dominant car? They barely won in Austin, less than a second in front. This is a far cry from the dominant years of Mercedes when they lapped the entire field.

    2. It would be zzzzz if Hamilton won his 8th WDC and his 5th in a row. Last couple of years he has had no competition at all which was way more boring than this year!

      1. Given how the championship looks, no, if Hamilton wins another this year then it will be thrilling to see how he does it @kavu, Verstappen certainly looks the favourite since the summer at least. It might still look different in a few races time, but even so, whoever wins, I doubt it will be really boring unless one of them just falls of a cliff and the championship is effectively though not mathematically over after next race.

    3. A 30 point lead was wiped out in 2 races yet with a 12 point lead with 5 races left, the WDC over due to a practice session.

      1. The championship is over since the start of pre-season testing. A win is a win, funny how people likes to compare 0.2 sec win versus 20 sec win. In years after 2021 will people remembering But But But driver xxx was a close second within 0.2 sec? For me I always observe one thing for Mercedes 2021, once they stuck behind Honda powered cars, it would take mammoth effort for clean overtakes, meanwhile MV overtook Bottas with fresh PU as if Bottas was on GP2 engine.

    4. Steven Van Langendonck
      6th November 2021, 9:26

      I’m sorry if I sound a bit harsh here, but if you are falling asleep through this championschip battle I don’t see how F1 could ever be entertaining to you.

      We have the best battle in years. The championship lead has changed hands 3 times (at least) this year. The margins are extremely slim and if any of the two contenders slip up it could be over in an instant.

      Enjoy it while it lasts!

  2. This track has just no character. Arguably more boring than the Sochi Autodrome. We need more high speed corners or slow speed corners with flows. The 3 corners just after the first sector split is just the worst section in the calendar. The stadium section is alright but does not come to the level of sector 3 of Singapore or Monaco or Abu Dhabi. The fun is just the first two corners and the first part of the S section in S2.

    1. @krichelle Pretty much agree.

      The old layout was great…. It was fast, Flowing & had a lot of character even if you cut out the peraltada.

      The modern redesign took away everything that made the original layout great, It doesn’t have that same flow & it doesn’t have any of the character. It just feels like any other more modern circuit because it’s taken so many of the modern design characteristics.

      1. Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, you just got TILK’D!

        1. What I don’t understand is that every track needs to be done or redone by Tilke.
          Varierty is the spice life, not the same Tilke rehash all around the world.

    2. The 2nd sector is really cool though

  3. RB have the faster car in Mexico. As suspected, they were sandbagging in FP1 and are now a couple of tenths faster than the Mercs.
    The balance didn’t look particularily good on the Mercedes and it really showed on the long runs. Verstappen was matching Bottas on 10 laps older tyres, while Hamilton was even further off on the same tyres as Bottas.

    Perez needs to find more time over a single lap to support Verstappen on Sunday, as it could cost him two places on the grid. His times on the long runs were pretty decent though.

    It looks very tight between Gasly and the Ferraris for best of the rest. Both on single lap-pace and long runs.
    McLaren are a little bit off the pace this weekend and might struggle to make it into the top10.

    1. That’s what I’d like to read here, not some vanilla press release text describing the table that follows the text.

      1. @falken that’s why we do the free practice analysis, whereas this is a session report.

        (people used to complain when I put more detail in these – different formats innit)

      2. I agree, these kind of comments are highly appreciated

    2. @falken

      That’s what I’d like to read here, not some vanilla press release text describing the table that follows the text.

      Yeah, very productive comment coming from @srga91 as usual, better than many obvious takes or even plain nonsense here. Additionally, we also need not to draw too many definitive conclusions from Friday long runs and even flying laps. Rather fortunately, many unpredictable things have happened this season already. A weighted comparision considering recent results from teams and drivers, as well as track history, should be added to practice pace on long stints and over one lap to more accuracy. But anyway very important info here.

    3. +1 Thanks for the summarisation Srdjan. This is useful info. You should get a job at

      1. Thank you :) That’s very kind of you, but I’m really just a F1-maniac who followed the timing screens and summarized what the experts were saying.
        I’m far away from the likes of Keith or Dieter :D

  4. Unrelated to the track action but it was said during the session so.

    During FP2 Karun said he’d taken his idea of forcing drivers to run all 3 compounds of tyre during a race to guarantee 2 stops to Stefano Domenicali who liked it & made note of it.

    I personally think it’s a horrible idea as it would take away a lot of the strategic options that teams currently have in terms of doing something radically different like what Mercedes did with Hamilton in Spain which Red Bull repeated with Max in France, That been doing a 2 stop while your primary rival tries 1. It would also likely limit the opportunities for drivers to extend stints to try something different like Lewis did in COTA.

    The thing that Karun, Croft & actually most of the others on Sky ignore is that guaranteeing more than 1 stop isn’t the thing that helps the racing, It’s when there is some uncertainty about which is the best way to go or when both are viable which allows teams options to do something different.

    1. @stefmeister

      The thing that Karun, Croft & actually most of the others on Sky ignore is that guaranteeing more than 1 stop isn’t the thing that helps the racing, It’s when there is some uncertainty about which is the best way to go or when both are viable which allows teams options to do something different.

      Exactly, a two-stop race can also be boring if it’s too predictable and everyone follows the same strategy. Furthermore, if cars have that amount of trouble following each other it definitively doesn’t help racing quality either. There’s no specific set of race strategies or some tyre compound that can guarantee it happening, but a big variety of those and as you said a long-standing uncertainty about which one is better: that’s what does the trick!

    2. @stefmeister judging from what gt-racer has said in the past, it would seem that Sky has a disproportionate amount of influence on Liberty Media (their payments being far larger than the share of the audience they represent) and thus their voice is given disproportionate weight.

      If Karun was voicing that to Domenicali, it’s quite plausible that, although it might not be what many want to see, because it is Sky that is voicing that suggestion, it may be given more weight than perhaps it should be.

      1. If they really want to reduce the numbers of tyres that get shipped all over the world and then get scrapped, reduce the allocation to Hard and Medium and cut the numbers. Run what you want when you want.
        If the softs only last one lap in anger, then get rid of them.


          I’m not sure that I would put too much weight to whatever Sky’s alleged power is over F1. First of all, just one comment I have is that I recall it being said that on average the races that get rated the highest in rate-the-race polls tend to be 2-stoppers. Fair enough. Why wouldn’t Sky want more exciting races? Why wouldn’t Liberty? But is a forced third tire compound per race the answer?

          What hasn’t been included here about what Karun said is that he has had this idea for years and nobody has listened, so I presume that to mean Liberty and Brawn as well. Karun said what he did yesterday, and then they joked about whether SD actually had ink in his pen, or what he has done with the note he made when with Karun.

          As to the tire usage and the idea of teams having to use all three compounds every race, it seems as per the article I cite above they want to use fewer tires not more. Surely F1 under BE and now under Liberty did not need an idea from Karun to consider what to do with tires such that they have arrived at doing two compounds per race. At a minimum if I were to give SD an idea it would be to see what the new cars and tires are like once they race in anger next year before doing anything.

          Let’s be clear that while BE made a great deal for F1 (himself and CVC) with his Sky deal, which makes Sky’s portion of television revenues significant, it is still only 1/3 of F1’s TV revenues and amounts to 255 mill per year. Not small, but F1 plays in the billions. I really doubt Sky dictates anything to F1, although F1 may feel an obligation to placate them in certain ways. But given how the article I cite above points out what kind of competition Sky will be in for once their contract comes up in 2024, I think it much more likely that Liberty will call it’s own shots on what their product looks like, and will have no shortage of bidders for avenues through which to present their entity to the world. Given potential enhanced OTT availability and/or entities such as Netflix or Amazon etc etc, will Sky be as willing to spend the same amount of money as they did with BE and potentially suffer from eyeballs being spread further over various methods for fans to view F1?

          Oh I have no doubt F1 appreciates Sky’s money and coverage, but Sky also gets revenues in return from advertisers and off-shoot carriers such as TSN here in Canada carrying their feed, so I’m not sure how much more F1 owes Sky, particularly in terms of their ‘weight’ with F1.

  5. … exactly, analysis well written by @srga91.

  6. 0.5 second is a big gap, let’s see how it shakes up tomorrow.
    If it really is around 0.3 and 0.5 then it’s Verstappen is in a very good position.
    If Perez can pull his socks up in qualifying and get ahead of Hamilton, that would be a dream scenario for RB.

    1. On performance I guess this and brazil are the best chances of a red bull 1-2 after years (mercedes this year aside gets several every year), but hamilton has been so superior to perez to overcome that in general, in any case they had a couple of faded 1-2s due to mechanical problems, baku 2021 and mexico 2018, so the latest 1-2 (malaysia 2016) isn’t even on performance due to hamilton’s problem, need to go back to 2013 to find an actual 1-2 on merit.

  7. Doesn’t look good for Mercs if Max is showing this pace in FP2, but once again it’s just practice and I wouldn’t be surprised if its very close and Mercs end up in pole. The sky commentary mentioned Mercs have figured out what’s wrong with their engine, pretty sure the middle east part of the calendar is where merc will shine.

  8. It’s a wrap.

  9. Were Merc running a higher engine mode again in FP1?

  10. Go Hamilton go!

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