The Alpine driver was 0.184s faster than Perez’s Red Bull on soft tyres, with Mercedes’ George Russell 0.312s adrift in third place on the same compound.
With parc ferme conditions having already kicked in at the start of Friday’s qualifying session, FP2 was largely focused on tyre and car performance ahead of the sprint on Saturday afternoon and Sunday’s grand prix.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was seventh, ahead of the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen, who claimed a shock maiden pole position for him and the Haas team in qualifying.
Lando Norris, who has recovered from food poisoning and will line-up from fourth in the sprint on Saturday afternoon, rounded out the top-10 for McLaren.
Neither Ferrari driver featured inside the top-10 in second practice, with Carlos Sainz ending up 11th and Charles Leclerc 13th respectively.
Leclerc was left frustrated by a tactical disaster from his Ferrari team in Q3, leaving the Monegasque only 10th on the grid for the sprint.
At the bottom of the FP2 timesheets was Logan Sargeant, who replaced Alex Albon and completed 100km of running (24 laps) to earn an extra point in his chase for a superlicence, with the American set to make his F1 debut with Williams in 2023.
The F1 sprint race takes place at 7.30pm UK time, with Magnussen to start from pole ahead of Verstappen.