It’s an indicator that Red Bull has good race pace at this stage of the weekend, with Pirelli estimating that there’s a 0.6sec difference between the compounds.
Perez’s six-lap medium run was slightly quicker on average than Hamilton’s. If this did translate to race pace, he would be a thorn in Mercedes’ side, able to slow them down from in front, or bounce them into a compromised strategy by pitting early and threatening the undercut.
The latter looks more likely at the moment, with Mercedes dominant on single-lap pace: Hamilton’s fastest lap of the session was 0.6sec faster than Verstappen’s.
There are still adjustments to be made, with Red Bull collecting plenty of data after running different setups yesterday.
As ever, teams will have until Q2 to decide on the tyres they use to start the race. Red Bull could gamble that the soft tyre will give Verstappen the extra grip he needs to take the lead needed for a soft tyre strategy, even if he starts on the second row of the grid. He may elect to start on the medium with a flexible strategy dependant on track position.
But with just a handful of FP2 laps to go on and the simulators for both teams undoubtedly running throughout the night, there’s no telling what will actually play out on Sunday.