Fernando Alonso topped an FP2 session that saw the teams preparing for the Sprint Qualifying event later in the afternoon.
The second practice session of the weekend commenced amidst the controversy of Mercedes’ possibly illegal DRS flap after qualifying. Mercedes received written permission early during the session from the stewards to fit a replacement rear wing to Hamilton’s car.
FP2 primarily focused on teams running for more laps rather than on performance as the lap times set by the drivers were a great distance from Friday’s qualifying laps.
Alfa Romeo and Haas were the first teams to depart the pit lane, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi leading the two Haas drivers. Soon after, Sergio Perez left the pits as the first frontrunner to take to the track. The Mexican set a benchmark time of 1:13.219 on soft tires.
Max Verstappen overwhelmed Perez’s opening lap, setting a 1:12.102 that put him over a second faster than his teammate. Esteban Ocon also went quicker than Perez on medium tires, just below a second shy of Verstappen’s time.
Lewis Hamilton lost approximately 20 minutes of practice time while the team changed his car’s rear wing. Hamilton’s first flying laps only placed him 15th, his teammate managing 8th fastest.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Perez clocked a quicker lap time on medium tires to join his teammate in the top 2 positions, 8 tenths off the quickest.
However, this order didn’t last long as Alpine leapfrogged ahead. Fernando Alonso set a 1:11.238, lapping almost a second faster than Max Verstappen’s quickest lap. Esteban Ocon responded to Perez’s lap by re-passing him, claiming the third position on the timing sheets.
Over the last 10 minutes of the session, team radio revealed Pierre Gasly having problems with his AlphaTauri, saying the car was “undrivable”.
The teams ran longer stints on different compounds throughout the session. Carlos Sainz’s stint proved to be the quickest on soft tires while the Red Bull pair showed superior pace on the medium compound.
The Mercedes duo managed to climb back to the upper ranks of the leaderboard in the dying minutes of the session, with lap times that put them over a second slower than Alonso’s time.
The results of the F1 Sao Paulo GP FP2:
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||+0.864|
|6||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+1.665|
|7||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1.759|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+2.117|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+2.188|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+2.509|