The importance of the second practice session on a sprint race weekend is minor. Carlos Sainz turned the fastest lap in his Ferrari. After repair work, Mercedes sent its pilots onto the runway with a delay. The top 10 were mixed.
The Mercedes mechanics only had six net hours between qualifying and the second practice session to get both cars ready for action again after the accidents. The parc fermé rules limited the possibilities. Lewis Hamilton needed a new chassis after hitting turn seven yesterday Friday. The mechanics prepared the replacement monocoque.
In addition, a different gearbox was installed in both cars. For safety. The Power Units survived the crash. But not the underbodies and the wings that were swapped on the Hamilton and George Russell cars. The suspensions were added to the number 44 car of the Formula 1 record winner. So Hamilton had to wait longer before he could get involved in the second practice session. 14 minutes before the clock ran out, he moved his Mercedes onto the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Ferrari versus Red Bull
Team-mate Russell was already in the game after ten minutes. Both can thank their mechanics for the great effort. The Mercedes drivers finished the practice session in seventh (Russell) and ninth (Hamilton) positions. Mercedes tried all three types of tires to prepare for the sprint and the main race.
Ferrari and Red Bull, on the other hand, limited themselves to the soft and medium mix. Like the rest of the field, both reeled off long runs with more fuel on board to check tire longevity and degradation. Rules prohibit setup changes after qualification. For example, only the front wing, the brake balance, the differential and the tire pressures offer room for maneuver under Parc Ferme. In total, the 20 drivers completed 676 laps.
The best time went to Carlos Sainz. The Silverstone winner steered his Ferrari around the track on the soft tires in 1:08.610 minutes. He was almost four seconds slower than yesterday in qualifying. Which underlines that the result of the second training is insignificant in terms of order.
Alpine keeps going fast
Teammate Charles Leclerc lost half a tenth of a second. Rival Max Verstappen was third, 0.168 seconds back. The World Championship leader set his fastest lap on the medium tires. Red Bull expects a close duel with Ferrari in the sprint race in the evening (from 4:30 p.m.). The Mercedes should be kept in mind.
Alpine continues to make a good impression. Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon took fourth and fifth place in the second practice session. Sergio Perez followed in the second Red Bull. The Mexican struggled with his car on Friday and a subsequent penalty that dropped him back to 13th place in the sprint.
Valtteri Bottas (8th) and Lando Norris (10th) ended up in the top half of the table. Alfa Romeo had failed to get either car into Q3 in qualifying as both drivers struggled with the balance of their race cars. McLaren felt beaten under value. Without the problems with the braking system (brake-by-wire), the racing team from Woking would have been able to do the lap times of the Alpine. With Norris in the cockpit.
Haas played an unremarkable training session that saw Mick Schumacher in 15th place in the results list. Compatriot Sebastian Vettel was two places ahead of him. Aston Martin stumbles especially in the high-speed corners. The balance makes things difficult for the drivers. And there is no liability.