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Verstappen tops Miami Practice 2 as Leclerc ends it in the barrier

How did the drivers fare as the heat subsided but the pressure increased in Florida?

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Max Verstappen restored order by topping the second Free Practice session in Miami, with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc completing the top three.

Max Verstappen was comfortably clear of his nearest competitors in Free Practice 2.
Max Verstappen was comfortably clear of his nearest competitors in Free Practice 2. (Image Credit: XPB Images.)

The Monegasque would end the session in the Tecpro at Turn Seven, however. The prancing horse dismounting its rider as Leclerc caught an initial snap but then skidded straight on into the barriers.

Near hits and misses

Any hopes for a mixed-up competitive order this weekend – after Verstappen and Pérez could only manage 4th and 11th in the morning session – didn’t last long in FP2.

The Red Bulls immediately reasserted their authority with early runs on the medium tyre. Sergio Pérez jumped to the top of the timings, over seven tenths clear of Leclerc, before Verstappen shaved another six tenths off that time, matching George Russell’s session-leading time from FP1 with his first attempt.

Leclerc did briefly better that time, before car number 1 reclaimed the number 1 spot.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the world champion, though, who – as was the case a week ago in Baku – had problems with his headrest.

Kevin Magnussen had bigger issues as he spun at Turn 14. Despite facing the wrong direction through the chicane, he was fortunate to somehow only kiss the barrier.

Not the regular line through Turns 14 and 15 for Kevin Magnussen...
Not the regular line through Turns 14 and 15 for Kevin Magnussen… (Image Credit: @F1 on Twitter.)

Certainly far more fortunate than his teammate who caused a red flag in the morning. The Haas mechanics had done an impressive repair job, however, and the German was back out on track for the start of FP2.

Another driver who was in the wars in the first practice session – Nyck de Vries – mostly kept his nose clean, apart from perhaps upsetting his Red Bull bosses by getting in the way of a Pérez flying lap.

Verstappen stretches his legs

Lando Norris was the first man to move onto the soft tyres just before the halfway point and duly moved to the top with a 1:28.471.

He impressively remained there, ahead of the initial attempts from the Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Pérez. More good signs for the McLaren upgrades.

As Daniel Ricciardo watched on from the pit wall, though, Verstappen put his headrest worries behind him and knocked the best part of a second off that time.

Sainz, Leclerc and Pérez got themselves within half a second, but could get no closer than 0.385 seconds back.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes pair struggled to push the car to the limit. Both Russell and Lewis Hamilton had nervy moments on the soft tyre, neither looking totally at ease as they fell from a 1-2 this morning to a 7-15.

Featured Image Credit: @F1 on Twitter

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