Championship leader Lewis Hamilton led the way for Mercedes in Portimao after topping second practice at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The Briton overcame his morning discomfort with the Pirelli tires and cool ambient temperatures to unleash his soft-compound rubber for a best lap of 1m19.837s.
Title rival Max Verstappen, lagging in the championship table by a single point, was just 0.143s adrift for Red Bull Racing despite suffering a brake-by-wire issue in the first 10 minutes of the session that restricted him to the second fewest laps of any driver for the hour.
The Dutchman was running an upgraded floor in his team’s attempt to consolidate its place at the head of the field with Mercedes, and though he showed strongly, teammate Sergio Perez was less impressive in 10th and 0.679s off the pace.
Verstappen ➡️ Hamilton ➡️ Alonso
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 30, 2021
Valtteri Bottas ended the afternoon third in the order and 0.344s adrift, albeit with the consolation that his session-topping time from FP1 was 0.2s quicker than Hamilton’s best in FP2.
The start of FP2 was delayed by 10 minutes for race control to check and secure some drain fixings at the exit of Turn 11, although the session was allowed to run to its full hour despite usual protocol subtracting the interruption from the total track time.
Most drivers took to the circuit as soon as the session went green to sample the medium-compound tire — which is sure to the basis of the consensus strategy on race day on the evidence of its trouble-free running this afternoon.
Carlos Sainz used his interlude on the soft tire to run fourth and just 0.36s off the headline time for Ferrari, but more impressive still was Alpine ending the day fifth and sixth with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon respectively, while Charles Leclerc took the second Ferrari to seventh.
Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for McLaren ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Perez in his Red Bull Racing machine.
Pierre Gasly finished a session outside the top 10 for the first time all season when he ended up 11th for AlphaTauri.
McLaren’s Lando Norris followed in 12th ahead of Williams driver George Russell and Yuki Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri.
Sebastian Vettel’s lackluster start to the season continued in 15th place, the Aston Martin star signing yet to end a timed session higher than 12th this season.
Alfa Romeo teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished 16th and 17th. Haas’s Mick Schumacher finished 18th ahead of Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, who was the only driver to find the gravel when he skated off the road at Turn 8. Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin, meanwhile, turned in a clean day at the track, albeit ending 1.1s behind the sister car.