Max on P14 in second Imola practice: 'I had a drive shaft issue'

Published on 16 April 2021 by Stefan Meens

After setting the third fastest time in FP1, Max Verstappen ended the second Friday practice session of the Grand Prix van Emilia Romagna in fourteenth after a mechanical issue curtailed his running. Valtteri Bottas made it two P1s in a row by lapping the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino quickest in his Mercedes during both practice sessions. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) completed the top three.

“I had a problem with the driveshaft and had to switch off the car”, explained Max after afternoon practice. “It’s difficult to say where we’re at after this session, but it’s nothing shocking. We’ll have to improve our balance tomorrow and make sure nothing breaks.”

The Red Bull racer continued: “Of course this affects us a little, but we know what to do, so I think we’ll be alright. It’s no surprise Mercedes are strong around here but we have to focus on ourselves and do a better job. We’ll see where we are compared to them.”

Similar to the morning, both the ambient (13 degrees) and track temperatures (25 degrees) are fairly cool at Imola for FP2. The first drivers to sample the conditions are George Russell (Williams), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo).

Five minutes in, everyone, bar Haas' Nikita Mazepin, is on track, with the Mercedes at the sharp end. In an attempt to get to the front on one of his flying laps, Max reports to team that something has broken as he steers the RB16B through the final corner. Sadly for the Dutchman, he is right; a driveshaft problem forces Max to park the car near the pit exit on the start-finish straight.

Once the track is cleared, it is Valtteri Bottas who sets the pace, racking up three purple sectors to set the fastest time of the day.

In the second half of the session, initially, the teams are still attempting to topple Bottas’ time by sending their drivers out on the soft Pirellis. In the end, their efforts prove in vain with the Finn holding on to P1 for the remainder of the session.

Training ends prematurely after Charles Leclerc crashes his Ferrari in the final corner. The heavily damaged Ferrari means the track cannot be cleared before the end of the session and thus the red flag marks the end of FP2.

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Results second free practice Emilia-romagna:

1Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:15.551 25
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:15.561+0.010s26
3Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:15.629+0.078s30
4Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:15.834+0.283s30
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:16.371+0.820s28
6Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:16.411+0.860s25
7Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:16.419+0.868s26
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:16.485+0.934s23
9Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:16.513+0.962s25
10Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:16.737+1.186s25
11Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:16.817+1.266s27
12Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:16.823+1.272s29
13Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:16.835+1.284s27
14Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:16.999+1.448s5
15Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:17.092+1.541s27
16George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:17.179+1.628s31
17Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:17.273+1.722s27
18Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:17.281+1.730s24
19Mick SchumacherSCHHaas Ferrari1:17.350+1.799s28
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:17.857+2.306s16