Max Verstappen showed that Red Bull Racing are in the hunt this weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard as he displaced the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team duo to top second practice on Friday afternoon.
Valtteri Bottas had earlier topped the morning session in a Mercedes one-two ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but Verstappen took top spot in the afternoon’s running, albeit by just 0.008 seconds. The Dutchman did trigger a brief Virtual Safety Car midway through the session however, as he ran wide at the exit of turn two and left debris from his front wing on the circuit.
For a long time, Bottas looked as though he was heading to finishing top in both sessions, but a late run by the championship leader relegated him to second place, while Hamilton was two-tenths of a second back in third.
Ironically, Bottas’ best lap was set on the medium compound, and when he switched to the softs, he found good pace in sector one before fading in the final two sectors to set a slower lap than he had already achieved earlier in the session. Verstappen, however, was able to find time on the soft compound to jump to the top of the time sheets.
On the other side of the garage, however, Sergio Pérez was more than a second down on his team-mate and ended outside the top ten in twelfth. The Mexican, the winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weeks ago, will need to find some pace if Red Bull are to fight at the front with both cars this weekend in France.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, the best of the rest was led by Alpine F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard ending less than half a second down on the outright pace in fourth, with Charles Leclerc fifth in the leading Scuderia Ferrari entry. It was a much better session for Ferrari, with team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. placing eighth.
Esteban Ocon’s good day continued with the sixth best time in the second Alpine, while Pierre Gasly ended seventh in the leading Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda ahead of Sainz. Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Kimi Räikkönen was an impressive ninth, while McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris was tenth.
Just missing out on the top ten but confirming the strong pace of Alfa Romeo was Antonio Giovinazzi in eleventh, with the Italian finishing just ahead of Pérez and the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda. Daniel Ricciardo in the second McLaren will be disappointed to end down in fourteenth after being much higher up the pecking order during the morning session.
The two Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, will have their work cut out this weekend to even score points if they do not find some pace overnight, with the duo ending fifteenth and sixteenth respectively.
George Russell, who sat out the morning session as Williams Racing opted to give test driver Roy Nissany a run, ended seventeenth, just ahead of team-mate Nicholas Latifi, while the Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin brought up the rear. Mazepin suffered a spin exiting the final turn but was able to recover and continue on with his session.
Free Practice 2 Result
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:32.872||21|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:32.880||+0.008||27|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:33.125||+0.253||23|
|4||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:33.340||+0.468||25|
|5||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:33.550||+0.678||23|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:33.685||+0.813||23|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:33.696||+0.824||25|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:33.698||+0.826||24|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:33.786||+0.914||26|
|10||4||Lando Norris||ITA||McLaren F1 Team||1:33.822||+0.950||24|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:33.831||+0.959||23|
|12||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:33.921||+1.049||24|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:33.955||+1.083||25|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:34.079||+1.207||24|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:34.447||+1.575||25|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:34.632||+1.760||24|
|17||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:35.266||+2.394||25|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:35.331||+2.459||25|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:35.512||+2.640||24|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:35.551||+2.679||23|