Formula 1

Portuguese GP – Friday Round Up: Bottas Tops Both Sessions After Two Dramatic Red Flags in FP2

3 Mins read
Portugal 2020
Credit: Octane Photos

It’s another race weekend in Formula 1 once again, and this time the travelling circus has pitched it’s tents at the glorious Algarve International Circuit in Portugal.

Being the first Friday practice running we’ve seen since Russia after weather-related chaos hit the Nürburgring last time out, today’s action certainly did not disappoint as viewers were treated to drama throughout both sessions.

Amidst it all though, it was Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas who prevailed and took the fastest time in both Free Practice One and Free Practice Two – retaining his rather flippant title of the ‘Friday World Champion’.

Bottas emerging over a crest in practice – Credit: Octane Photos

The circuit proved difficult for many drivers throughout the day, and we saw a handful of spins and incidents – not to mention a record sixty five lap times being deleted in the first session alone.

During morning running, drivers were aiming to test the track and learn all the intricacies of the difficult layout.

Almost all twenty drivers experienced either a trip across the gravel or a pirouette whilst finding the limits. Two notable spins were that of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, and the latter of the two was one of many to report the lack of grip on the recently resurfaced track.

On the weekend they announced their departure from Haas F1 Team at the end of 2020, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen experienced a relatively promising first session given the team’s current circumstances.

Magnussen finished fourteenth and ahead of Lance Stroll. Stroll’s replacement for last weekend Nico Hülkenberg also made an appearance in the morning – albeit trackside only.

In FP1, Bottas led teammate Lewis Hamilton by three tenths, with Verstappen, Leclerc, Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz Jr. completing the top five.

Free Practice One Classified Leaderboard:

177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.41035
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.7490.339s35
333Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:19.1910.781s32
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:19.3090.899s33
523Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:19.3650.955s34
655Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team1:19.4411.031s42
711Sergio PérezMEXBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:19.9071.497s31
87Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:19.9541.544s35
93Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault DP World F1 Team1:20.0581.648s27
1010Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:20.1241.714s29
115Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1:20.2001.790s37
124Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:20.2071.868s29
1326Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:20.2781.868s32
1420Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:20.8462.436s28
1518Lance StrollCANBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:20.9542.544s32
1699Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing1:21.0092.599s35
178Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team1:21.1692.759s31
1863George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:21.3742.964s31
1931Esteban OconFRARenault DP World F1 Team1:21.6733.263s31
206Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:22.0543.644s34

But even after a multitude of incidents in the morning, Free Practice Two a few hours later proved to be far more exciting.

The first portion of the session was used to test the prototype tyres for next year, and so drivers and teams had to squeeze more than usual into the later stages of the afternoon running. Because of this, almost all drivers were on-circuit for the majority of their allocated time – leading to a few strange incidents.

Around an hour into the session, we saw the first red flag of the day after newly-inaugurated race winner Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri AT01 unexpectedly burst into flames towards the end of sector two.

The Frenchman was unharmed as he leapt out amidst the blaze, but the car was ruined and he will subsequently require an engine replacement after the failure.

Gasly’s stricken AlphaTauri being tended to by marshals – Credit: Octane Photos

As well as this, a second red flag was brought out after an unexpected crash between Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll.

Around the final few corners of the circuit, Verstappen let a flying Stroll past as the Canadian was on a timed lap. The Dutchman then opened DRS a few corners later on the main straight in an effort to try and re-overtake Stroll, who had just initiated a cooldown lap, so he could start his own flyer but the Racing Point driver did not yield into turn one and the pair collided spectacularly.

Stroll’s car was left beached, while a furious Verstappen managed to return to the pits.

The session concluded with a quiet ten minutes after the restart, and once more the Finn was on top. Bottas led from Verstappen, and a quick Lando Norris completed the top three. Charles Leclerc also did a standout job, finishing in the top five both times on Friday.

Free Practice Two Classified Leaderboard:

177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:17.94032
233Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:18.5350.595s34
34Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:18.7430.803s35
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:18.8380.898s34
555Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team1:19.1131.173s32
65Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1:19.1751.235s34
710Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:19.1781.238s26
844Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:19.3081.368s27
931Esteban OconFRARenault DP World F1 Team1:19.4961.556s32
1023Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:19.6431.703s37
1163George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:19.8211.881s33
1211Sergio PérezMEXBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:19.9011.961s34
133Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault DP World F1 Team1:19.9872.047s28
146Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:20.4652.525s33
157Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:20.4902.550s34
1620Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:20.6802.740s29
1726Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:20.7292.789s33
188Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team1:20.8672.927s32
1918Lance StrollCANBWT Racing Point Formula One Team1:20.9833.043s26
2099Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing1:21.3963.456s34

Free practice Three begins at 11:00 BST tomorrow at the Algarve track.

Credit: Octane Photos
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Sixteen-year-old Motorsports Journalist covering Formula One for TCF, follow at @jamesthomasf1 on Twitter
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