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Hamilton keeps Verstappen at bay as F1 rivalry heats up in Portugal

Hamilton keeps Verstappen at bay as F1 rivalry heats up in Portugal

F1 News

Hamilton keeps Verstappen at bay as F1 rivalry heats up in Portugal

Hamilton keeps Verstappen at bay as F1 rivalry heats up in Portugal

The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen this season continued in Portugal as the seven-time F1 champion narrowly held the upper hand at the end of second practice.

After Red Bull driver Verstappen was edged by Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas in FP1 by just 0.025secs, the Dutchman had to settle for second best again in FP2 as the Briton finished 0.143s clear with a lap of one minute 19.837s.

That time was almost two-tenths of a second slower, however than Bottas' leading time from the first session over the undulating Algarve circuit that has been dubbed 'the rollercoaster' due to its wild, undulating nature.

FP2 started 10 minutes later than planned as repairs were required to repair a loose drain cover.

On F1's debut at the track last year, FP3 was delayed by 45 minutes after Sebastian Vettel broke a drain cover by running over one while then with Ferrari.

On this occasion, the delay was not too detrimental before the teams took to the track, only for Verstappen to soon return to the garage after complaining about a brake-by-wire issue.

Verstappen ended up losing 12 minutes of running overall due to what was eventually determined as a brake sensor issue sustained on his first outing.

Come the conclusion, the 23-year-old was again left as 'the meat' in a Mercedes 'sandwich' as Bottas was third quickest, a third-of-a-second adrift of Hamilton.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz fared well as the Spaniard was fourth, followed by Alpine duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. The quartet from Bottas to Ocon were covered by just 0.054s.

Sainz's team-mate Charles Leclerc was seventh fastest ahead of McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll in his Aston Martin, with Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

That will not be a concern for Red Bull, however, as the Mexican was clearly on a different run plan to Verstappen, and particularly after being more than six-tenths of a second quicker in FP1.

Pierre Gasly was 11th on the timesheet in his AlphaTauri, the first time the French driver has failed to finish in the top 10 in a practice session this season.

British duo Lando Norris in his McLaren and Williams' George Russell were 12th and 13th, followed by Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda.

Sebastian Vettel again appeared to be struggling with his Aston Martin as the four-time F1 champion was a lowly 15th, one place better off than in FP2.

As in FP1, Haas driver Nikita Mazepin again brought up the rear, finishing 2.801s behind Hamilton, and 1.1s slower than team-mate Mick Schumacher was 18th quickest.

Mazepin was also the leading offender with regard to track limits as 14 drivers had lap times deleted for running wide at either turn one or four.

With 25 laps deleted overall, the Russian led the way with four after doing so in FP1 with six.

Portuguese Grand Prix 2nd practice times

1 Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:19.837s

2 Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.143s

3 Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] +0.344s

4 Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +0.360s

5 Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +0.383s

6 Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +0.398s

7 Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +0.523s

8 Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +0.581s

9 Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +0.590s

10 Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +0.679s

11 Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +0.721s

12 Lando Norris [McLaren] +0.920s

13 George Russell [Williams] +1.139s

14 Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +1.216s

15 Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] + 1.237s

16 Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] +1.388s

17 Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +1.401s

18 Mick Schumacher [Haas] +1.700s

19 Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +2.018s

20 Nikita Mazepin [Haas] +2.801s

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