Verstappen takes it to the Max in FP2 – Styrian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen set the pace in the FP2 ahead of Valtteri Bottas and a resurgent Racing Point, in a session that could decide the grid for the race.

With rain expected for Saturday, there’s a possibility qualifying won’t be able to run tomorrow and the FP2 times will be used instead.

Given the circumstances Lewis Hamilton was surprisingly conservative, his fastest lap was 0.7s off the pace of Verstappen and he seemed to be running a lower engine mode.

Daniel Ricciardo had a heavy crash fifteen minutes in, spinning out of turn ten and carrying a lot of speed across the gravel before hitting the wall with the rear end.

At that point Perez was top and Stroll second, with Esteban Ocon, the other Renault who had a difficult opening weekend, in fourth.

The two Racing Points stayed near the top of the timesheets with Sergio Perez third and Lance Stroll fourth. After showing strong pace throughout last weekend the team had a disappointing race as Stroll retired and Perez finished sixth, so they’ll be looking for a bounce-back result this weekend.

But it was Verstappen who took the top spot, less than a tenth ahead of Bottas. The pair had a run-in earlier in the session as the Dutchman’s flying lap was blocked coming over the hill into turn ten, Verstappen cursing the Finn over team radio.

His Red Bull teammate Alex Albon was seventh and struggled throughout the session, spinning twice. Once on the exit of turn three was a fairly standard mistake but there was also a strange spin around turn seven, further underlining the stability problems the team seem to be dealing with in the early season.

Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five just ahead of Hamilton, with it set to be an interesting fight for the top five across qualifying and the race.

Sebastian Vettel was way down in 16th, one place ahead of Nicolas Latifi who ran an impressive 49 laps over the session. It was a strong return for the Canadian after he retired early in FP1 with engine failure.