After topping the opening practice on his Mercedes debut, George Russell continued to set the pace in the second session as drivers found it hard to keep their cars on the track around the tricky Outer Circuit in Bahrain.
Without any previous experience with Mercedes’ 2020 car, the W11, Russell completed a clean sweep on Friday at Sakhir GP. The Briton, who is replacing Lewis Hamilton this weekend, recorded a time of 54.713 on Pirelli’s red-walled C4 compound to secure his second P1 in a Formula One practice session.
His team mate Valtteri Bottas ended up 11th fastest, albeit that result did not reflect the Finn’s and his car’s true potential. His best time was registered on the Hard compound while his theoretically best time, which would have seen the Finn top the session, was deleted for track limit infringements.
#FP2 has not been an easy session for the team. #Charles16 had a driveshaft issue on his car after just two laps while #Seb5 made a mistake in his quali simulation lap so his best one was a 55”830 set on Medium tyres.#essereFerrari🔴 #SakhirGP pic.twitter.com/t28grfn181— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) December 4, 2020
Ferrari had a very difficult second practice session. Charles Leclerc encountered technical problems on his very first timed lap and was forced to limp back to the pits. After the mechanics quickly found out that it was related to the driveshaft of the ca, they started to work on the problem to get Leclerc back out on the track. However, the issue could not be solved during the session, depriving the Monegasque of any further running.
His team mate Sebastian Vettel also endured a difficult session by spinning around on the first timed lime on both his medium and soft tyres. The German’s second spin was rather scary as he span around right in front of Kevin Magnussen at Turn 5, forcing the Dane to take evasive action. The pair could avoid the collision, but the flat-spotted tyres left Vettel down in 16th place.
McLaren’s night has been rather complicated, as well. Lando Norris ran aggressively over the kerbs in the second sector, damaging the floor of his MCL35 while Carlos Sainz was dogged by gearbox synchronisation issues in the closing stages of the second practice.
AlphaTauri continued to set an impressive pace with Daniil Kvyat and Piere Gasly ending up 6th and 9th fastest. The Frenchman had a rather uncomfortable moment at the end of the session when gravel flew against his gloves following an off-track excursion for Valtteri Bottas. The Italian Grand Prix race winner complained about aches triggered by the gravel.
Despite finishing at the bottom end of the order, this weekend’s two debutants Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken showed impressive pace, making no mistakes in the evening session. The Miami-born Brazilian was just three tenths of a second slower than his team’s Dane driver Kevin Magnussen, and completed an impressive 56 laps around the 3.5km track.
Jack Aitken, who is substituting George Russell at the penultimate round of the 2020 F1 season, was the last to post a timed lap, but did so without making any mistakes. The F2 racer racked up a total of 58 laps, the highest mileage completed of any driver.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||54.841||+0.128s||43|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||54.866||+0.153s||52|
|5||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||55.036||+0.323s||42|
|6||26||Daniil Kvyat||Alphatauri Honda||55.068||+0.355s||58|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||55.104||+0.391s||44|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||55.133||+0.420s||48|
|10||55||Carlos Sainz||Mclaren Renault||55.258||+0.545s||39|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55.484||+0.771s||54|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55.533||+0.820s||57|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||55.738||+1.025s||49|
|15||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||55.784||+1.071s||52|
|17||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Renault||56.031||+1.318s||14|
|18||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari||56.110||+1.397s||56|
|19||89||Jack Aitken||Williams Mercedes||56.260||+1.547s||58|