Racing Point Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll set the pace in the second British Grand Prix free practice session at Silverstone.
Stroll was 0.090s quicker than the next-fastest car, Red Bull driver Alex Albon, whose big crash at Stowe corner interrupted much of the field’s qualifying simulations with a 10-minute red flag.
The dominant Mercedes team was among those affected, although both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton had already set soft-tyre times and slotted in third and fifth respectively, sandwiching Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Mercedes split its running between the medium and the hard early in the session, and Bottas duly assumed the lead on the softer compound, establishing a lead of nearly half a second over his nearest rival Albon as the session approached the half-hour mark.
Hamilton erred on his first flyer but eventually split the two medium-shod Red Bulls on the hard tyre, ending the run in third.
Soft-tyre simulations began soon after, with Albon jumping to the top before being usurped by Stroll’s 1m27.274s, the duo ending up the only drivers in FP2 to surpass Max Verstappen’s FP1 benchmark.
And though Albon’s Red Bull team-mate Verstappen was up on both after the first sector during his subsequent first soft-tyre flying lap, he was impeded by the Haas of Romain Grosjean, which prompted a string of obscenities and gesticulations from Verstappen in the Frenchman’s direction as he cruised next to the Haas in the immediate aftermath.
After the on-track flare-up, which Grosjean described as “[expletive] childish”, Verstappen set off for another push lap, only for this one to be interrupted in the final sector by a red flag, caused by Albon’s crunching his RB16 against the Stowe barriers – which effectively consigned Verstappen to what would be an eventual 14th place in the FP2 order.
Albon climbed out of the car and looked relatively unscathed, although he had to visit the circuit medical centre “as a precaution”.
Though some more qualifying simulation runs were attempted once the session resumed with over half an hour to go, the top seven remained unchanged.
Bottas ended up a tenth and a half off Stroll’s pace, while Hamilton was another tenth and a half down and slower also than Ferrari driver Leclerc, who had had a spin exiting The Loop earlier in the session.
Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who had sat out virtually all of FP1 with a suspected intercooler issue, left it until after the red flag to go out on soft tyres, and had a scruffy fastest lap.
It featured him dipping his SF1000 into the gravel through Luffield and was ultimately only good enough for 18th.
Vettel’s 2021 replacement Carlos Sainz Jr led McLaren’s efforts in sixth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, standing in for Sergio Perez at Racing Point following the Mexican’s positive COVID-19 test.
Hulkenberg was within two tenths of Racing Point regular Stroll after the first runs, but ended up 0.636s slower at the chequered flag.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo were two drivers who improved their positions after the red flag, moving up to eighth and ninth respectively.
Kimi Raikkonen in 10th place made it eight different teams represented in the top 10, his Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi having sat a standout sixth after the opening runs on mediums but not managing to improve as much as Raikkonen on softs.
Haas and Williams, led by Romain Grosjean in 16th and George Russell in 17th respectively, were the only two outfits not to lap within a second of Stroll’s pace.
Russell’s rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi spun at Stowe after the chequered flag, but rejoined the track without major damage.
Practice 2 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|1||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m27.274s|
|2||Alex Albon||Red Bull-Honda||1m27.364s||+0.09s|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren-Renault||1m27.82s||+0.546s|
|7||Nico Hülkenberg||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m27.91s||+0.636s|
|10||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m28.159s||+0.885s|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m28.256s||+0.982s|
|14||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||1m28.39s||+1.116s|