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Mercedes on a charge as Verstappen and Sainz suffer nightmare FP2

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton appear to have joined the fight at the front of the F1 field after a positive FP2 session in Miami that saw Mercedes top the timing tower.

Russell Miami
To news overview © XPB

Mercedes have offered the clearest indication yet that their Miami upgrades have helped them to close the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari, after George Russell set the fastest time during FP2.

There was some hope amongst the Brackley-based team following the earlier FP1 session that the W13's new, lighter front and rear wings had helped to cut away at the gap between themselves and their race-winning rivals, and FP2 appeared to reiterate this.

Russell set the fastest lap of the session, a 1:29.938, with his seven-time World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton just 0.2 seconds behind in P4.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who at one stage topped the timing tower on the Medium tyre, crashed hard 20 minutes into the session and has been left once again playing catch-up against his World Championship-leading teammate Charles Leclerc (P2).

Max Verstappen was left waiting in the garage before he could get his FP2 session underway after a gearbox change, but was then hit with steering problems that brought his day to an early end.

His teammate Sergio Perez, meanwhile, had a close call early on in the session when he spun his Red Bull in Sector 2 and ruined a set of tyres on the way. He placed P3.

Result Free practice 2 - Miami

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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FP2 gives Miami fans a glimpse into qualifying pace

As the track cooled in Miami, the teams and drivers began to push their cars closer to the limit than during the track-learning FP1 session.

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was seen fighting his car through the narrow and twisting Sector 3 of the Miami International Autodrome on his way to placing an impressive P7 in the standings. His teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, was down in 13th.

Mercedes appear to have unlocked more potential from their W13 machine as they topped the timing sheets, but Ferrari and Red Bull proved not to be too far behind.

Leclerc ended the session 0.106 seconds behind Russell, with Perez in third, 0.212 seconds adrift. Sainz and Verstappen, due to their problems, were unable to set a competitive lap time.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Lando Norris (McLaren) enjoyed problem-free, positive sessions for their teams in Miami and will hope to be the best of the rest during qualifying on Saturday.

Verstappen and Sainz hit with a nightmare session

Red Bull were forced to change Verstappen's gearbox as a precaution ahead of the session after the Dutchman made contact with the wall during FP1.

The team will be keen to avoid another DNF after their World Champion driver failed to score points at both the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix.

But as soon as Verstappen took to the track, he was hit with a steering problem (hydraulic-related), similar to that he suffered in Bahrain. He was forced to withdraw from the session.

His problems on track did not compare to that of Ferrari driver Sainz who, just as he did in Australia and Italy, crashed out.

Leclerc's teammate has suffered two retirements in his last two races and has struggled so far in 2022, despite a fine 2021 season with the team.

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) also lost track time following his FP1 crash, while Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams) also encountered issues on track.

Also interesting:

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F1 2022 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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