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Verstappen is half a second ahead of Mercedes

Verstappen is half a second ahead of Mercedes

( – Max Verstappen confidently set the fastest time in his second free practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix of 2021. The Red Bull driver took the two Mercedes drivers back in about half a second, thus cementing his favorite position in the mountainous air of Mexico City (2,285 meters above sea level).

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in his second free training session in Mexico


Verstappen also made a strong impression in the final long-term tests. As expected, Red Bull appears to be in a strong position. Local champion Sergio Perez recovered from a small crash in the morning and finished fourth in the second practice session, 0.570 seconds behind his teammate.

It’s hard to assess how seriously Mercedes can challenge Red Bull in Mexico after the first day of training. However, “Sky” expert Timo Glock sees advantages in Verstappen, because: “Hamilton’s car doesn’t look perfect in balance,” he notes with trained eyes.

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Glock continues: “Hamilton didn’t go to the hard tyre. He didn’t run some together. The balance wasn’t right at all. Obviously the balance has to go towards making the rear axle sturdier. And that gives you a problem. Also on delivery. satisfied with that.”

Glock’s judgment on Verstappen was very different: “The car remains very quiet even over the edges, simply because it’s very well balanced – but because it also does that very well in terms of driving. I think Hamilton simply can’t position the car as well as how Verstappen manages that. It was. Hamilton had a bit of steering in the faster corners, but sometimes it was too much.”

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At Mercedes, we know that Red Bull will have a hard time: “They are faster at the moment,” says Hamilton. “We have to try to make up for that with preparation. But we lack the leverage.” Bottas nodded: “It looks like Red Bull is a bit quick. At least on one lap with the soft tire.”

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A respectable distance from the top two teams, a close field of pursuit formed from fifth, led by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari/+1.017) ahead of Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri/+1.128), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari/+1.304) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri/+). 1.343).

Ferrari (P5/7) had a better start to the weekend than McLaren (P12/15). For Daniel Ricciardo, the era ended after just seven laps. His mechanic removed the bottom of the box and first had to wipe up any oil that had leaked from it. After that, Ricciardo is no longer seen on the track.

It seems that the problem was a defective gearbox. “We discovered a transmission issue on Friday, which we are now investigating in the garage,” McLaren said during the hearing. Ricciardo finally finished 15th, 2.220 seconds behind Verstappen.

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There were also technical issues with Williams driver George Russell. After about a quarter of an hour he reported problems with the transmission to the pits. At the radio station with his race engineer, he got impatient: “Can I change gears now, yes or no?” In the end he returned the car without changing gears.

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It wasn’t until Russell was back in the hole that the TV director played a potentially related scene. Because when Russell got out of the pits, the mechanic in the back right hadn’t tightened the screw yet. This occurred in the area where the gearbox is located.

A mechanic clapped his hands over his head when collapsing. However, there is no “communication” between the gearbox and the loose bolt, Williams confirms at the request of “”. The bug occurred independently of this and now needs to be investigated. For Russell, the session ended after just two rounds. Murr: Unlike Ricciardo, it was a racing gearbox.

And what about the Germans? Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) put his best foot forward at the start of the session. Most positively, he finished ninth, 0.363 behind P5 and one second behind teammate Lance Stroll (17). Mick Schumacher (Haas) took 16th place, and clearly beat Nikita Maspin by 1.961 seconds.

“It was a good start to the weekend,” Vettel says. “It was fun, despite the slippery track.” “We’ve gained knowledge of the tyres. We don’t know exactly where we are yet because the track is getting faster and faster. But we’ve made good progress and I think it’s going to be very tight in the top ten. It’s the third quarter target, but I think others can still improve too.”