Verstappen leads Sainz’s FP2 as Leclerc crashes

Max Verstappen was fastest in the second practice session of Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix, which was halted towards the end after Charles Leclerc crashed at Turn 7.

The Ferraris were the first to cross the 1m31s in the opening session, Carlos Sainz signing a 1m31.787s before being eclipsed by Leclerc by three tenths in the first runs.

It was still well over a second slower than FP1’s George Russell benchmark, although Perez eventually closed the pace with his 1m30.757s, but that was eclipsed by Verstappen’s 1m30.146s.

Sainz posted a 1m30.128s, three thousandths of a second off Russell’s 1m30.125s from FP1, but Leclerc then broke the 90-second barrier with a 1m29.497s to jump to the top of the timing charts.

Verstappen closed in on the Monegasque, losing just a tenth on his next effort as he struggled with his headrest hanging from his helmet, but another tilt pushed him over the top with a 1m29.380s.

This initial flurry of racing was mostly conducted on the medium tyre, and the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri upped the ante on their first laps on the soft rubber.

Norris clocked 1m28.741s, which withstood a seat as the lead for much of the races on the soft tyres, as Piastri was six tenths off his opening effort.

Fernando Alonso and Sainz then took turns in second place, but Norris was able to continue to defend top spot – especially as a block from Leclerc denied him a chance to capitalize on a purple central sector and take the lead. Norris session control.

Verstappen then ended Norris’ run to the top with a 1m28.255s, recording the best sector twice, although Sainz nearly knocked out his former Toro Rosso team-mate – lacking by 0.06s.

The Dutchman raised the bar and clocked a time of 1m27.930, sitting on top as the session progressed into the long stretches for the final 20 minutes of the session.

To the frustration of the engineers tasked with poring over the data, the long races were cut short with 10 minutes to go when Leclerc coated his Ferrari into the wall at Turn 7, tattooing the track surface with skid marks while the rear wheels were locking.

This precipitated a five-minute delay when Leclerc’s car was rescued, although the session eventually resumed for a final attempt at long-term data collection.

Leclerc, who received a new gearbox ahead of the session, ultimately remained third fastest behind Verstappen and Sainz. Baku winner Perez was fourth, nearly half a second behind team-mate Red Bull at the end of the session.

Alonso was fifth after overcoming Norris’ quick first attempt on the soft tyres, as the Briton landed sixth quicker as McLaren’s Baku update package appeared to pay more dividends for Miami.

Lewis Hamilton overcame a number of wide moments at the tricky 14-15 corner chicane to finish seventh overall, just under a tenth faster than Lance Stroll, as Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon completed the top 10.

After a spin at Turn 14 which progressed just missing the wall, Kevin Magnussen largely kept his car off the wall to finish 12th fastest, just behind Pierre Gasly.

FP1 leader Russell was only 15th fastest after running into traffic on his hot lap on softs, and complained about the car’s ‘three wheeling’ into Turn 2 as he struggled for the rhythm.

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