Miami GP: George Russell leads practice two and rivals run into trouble as Mercedes come back strong

Miami GP: George Russell leads practice two and rivals run into trouble as Mercedes come back strong


Is Mercedes back? George Russell sets the tone in P2, one tenth ahead of Charles Leclerc; Lewis Hamilton fourth as Carlos Sainz crushes Ferrari and Max Verstappen has reliability issues at Red Bull; Watch the entire Miami GP weekend live only on Sky Sports F1

Last update: 07/05/22 00:53

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Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz picks up too much speed in Turn 13 and crashes out of P2

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz picks up too much speed in Turn 13 and crashes out of P2

George Russell capped off an impressive opening day for Mercedes at the inaugural Miami GP by overtaking the second practice session, as the F1 world champions sent in a statement with much improved pace as their rivals met problems.

Mercedes have lacked pace all season but finally appear to be in contention after decisive upgrades in America, where a real three-team battle could headline a highly anticipated street race.

Russell led Mercedes’ charge on Friday and, after coming second in the opening session, was fastest overall in the chillier P2, beating Charles Leclerc by a tenth of a second with his time of 1:29.938.

Max Verstappen had just entered the track but was forced to return after his rear brake overheated

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Max Verstappen had just entered the track but was forced to return after his rear brake overheated

Max Verstappen had just entered the track but was forced to return after his rear brake overheated

Sergio Perez finished third for Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton fourth and two-tenths behind young Mercedes team-mate Russell, whom he is also trailing in the Championship.

But in truth, Mercedes couldn’t have asked for a better start to the weekend – especially as F1 2022’s fastest teams, Ferrari and Red Bull, both suffered in second practice.

Carlos Sainz, after back-to-back maneuvers in Australia and Imola, crashed his Ferrari to bring out a red flag, while Max Verstappen completed just one troubled lap in the session with reliability issues.

With Sainz (11th) and Verstappen (19th) absent, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris ensured Alpine and McLaren went into the weekend with high hopes after finishing fifth and sixth, while Pierre Gasly was not far behind in a competitive AlphaTauri.

Valtteri Bottas, like Verstappen, didn’t get any time on the board at all, failing to even make it out of the garage after his P1 garage.

Karun Chandhok analyzes the action of the Miami GP Practice Two.

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Karun Chandhok analyzes the action of the Miami GP Practice Two.

Karun Chandhok analyzes the action of the Miami GP Practice Two.

Mercedes’ return: Quick start from Miami as Ferrari and Red Bull suffer

While they have two podium finishes this year, Miami marks the first time Mercedes have entered a weekend as real challengers to Ferrari and Red Bull – and given their form on Friday, they might even be favourites.

How, then, did Mercedes go from its myriad problems to favourites?

The answer is probably twofold. Mercedes are offering various upgrades for Miami’s F1 debut – including a noticeably different new front wing – which appear to have done their job of improving ‘porpoising’, the Silver Arrows’ biggest problem.

The track may also be a factor, with a low downforce setup – despite the higher top speed – apparently relieving harsh bounces as well.

Christian Horner says he knew that

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Christian Horner says he knew “it was only a matter of time” Mercedes were able to iron out some of their issues after an impressive display from George Russell.

Christian Horner says he knew “it was only a matter of time” Mercedes were able to iron out some of their issues after an impressive display from George Russell.

Either way, Mercedes are now a huge factor for their rivals, especially given their stop-start Fridays.

Ferrari will be happy but not happy with their pace as their weekend was made more difficult by another error from Sainz under pressure, who picked up far too much speed in Turns 12 and 13 and finished in the barriers.

“I don’t know what happened there,” said the Spaniard.

Red Bull, meanwhile, have more reliability issues as Verstappen failed to turn a wheel of anger in P2.

In a bizarre sequence of events, Red Bull kept Verstappen in the garage at the start of the hour-long session for a precautionary gearbox change before releasing him, but Verstappen quickly signaled he couldn’t. steer his car.

After a very slow lap where he nearly had an incident with Lance Stroll and saw his brakes catch fire, Verstappen returned to the pits and would not be seen on track again.

Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 it was a hydraulic problem, which also damaged the brakes.

For the first time this year, Mercedes is the team to beat before a weekend. Watch all the Saturday action live on Sky Sports F1, with final practice at 6pm before qualifying at 9pm.

Miami GP Second Practice Timesheet

Driver Team Weather
1) George Russell mercedes 1:29.938
2) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.106
3) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.212
4) Lewis Hamilton mercedes +0.241
5) Fernando Alonso Alpine +0.434
6) Lando Norris McLaren +0.597
7) Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri +0.609
8) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.922
9) Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.923
10) Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.983
11) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +1.026
12) Daniel Ricardo McLaren +1.270
13) Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri +1.322
14) Sebastien Vettel Aston Martin +1.455
15) Mick Schumacher Haas +1.649
16) Start the walk Aston Martin +1.693
17) Alex Albon williams +1.772
18) Nicholas Latifi williams +2.975
19) Max Verstappen Red Bull No set time
20) Valterri Bottas Alfa Romeo No set time

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