FP2: Bottas tops afternoon session on the harder compound

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After topping the opening practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas continued to dictate the pace in FP2, beating his team mate Lewis Hamilton. In the meantime, Max Verstappen only completed five laps due to technical problems.

The early stages of the session were dominated by the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc with both drivers setting promising pace on Pirelli’s yellow-banded Medium compound. However, the Mercedes duo recorded incredible pace, becoming the only drivers to dip into the 1m15s on the Medium compound.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen suffered a stoppage that ended his session just 10 minutes in. Speaking of his problems, the Dutchman added: "I had a driveshaft issue so we had to stop the car in FP2 and it wasn’t the easiest to get the car back to the pits so I couldn’t get back out on track. The car felt alright in FP1 and it is difficult to say how the second session would have been but we will still be able to look at the data and see what we can do better for tomorrow in terms of balance. "

When drivers started to try out the red-walled Soft compound, times began to drop. Interestingly, the Mercedes duo found it difficult to extract the maximum grip of the C4 compound. Bottas was unable to post a faster time than the one he set on the Medium compound, albeit that time was enough for the Finn to top the session.

Hamilton achieved his best time of 1m15.561 on the soft compound, but that was only 0.111 quicker than his best lap on the C3 compound. Bottas’ best C4 time was a tenth slower than his absolute best.

Interestingly, it was Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Leclerc to post the best time of the day with a 1m15.367, but that time was deleted as the two-time grand prix winner exceeded the track limits at Turn 9. Even so, both he and Carlos Sainz demonstrated that Ferrari’s SF21 seems to be a definite step over its predecessor, the SF1000.

Speaking of his day, Lecerlc added: „The car is quick, the balance is good and I felt at ease immediately. Of course, it’s only tomorrow that we will find out the pecking order, because maybe someone hasn’t shown their full potential.

„ I was pleased with my quick lap: the time that was cancelled because of a couple of centimetres would have been quickest overall and even over a long run I think we have found a good balance.”

For the Aston Martin Cognizant Team, Friday was a productive day, albeit neither driver impressed with the outright speed of their car. Lance Stroll delivered the tenth fastest lap while his new team mate Sebastian Vettel ended up in P15.

„Part of today’s programme involved testing some new aero parts and the early signs are encouraging – especially in terms of my feeling in the car,” added the four-time world champion. „That should help us take a step forward this weekend. I believe we can be more competitive than in Bahrain.”

Williams had a productive day, producing strong lap times with their revised floor. Nicholas Latifi ended the day 12th fastest while George Russell finished 16th quickest.

Speaking of the Grove-based team’s day, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance said: „It was good to run the FW43B in cooler conditions and at a circuit that is quite different to Bahrain.

„Although the tyre compounds are the same as we had at the first race, their behaviour is understandably quite different, and we have spent time today understanding how we can optimise their performance in both qualifying and the race. The day has gone well and has been very busy. Both drivers enjoyed trouble-free sessions and were generally happy with their cars,” Robson concluded.

The session was brought to a premature end after Leclerc crashed, bringing out a red flag at the final corner to end the session early with three minutes remaining.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:15.55125
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:15.561+0.010s26
310Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:15.629+0.078s30
455Carlos SainzFERRARI1:15.834+0.283s30
516Charles LeclercFERRARI1:16.371+0.820s28
611Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA1:16.411+0.860s25
722Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA1:16.419+0.868s26
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:16.485+0.934s23
999Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:16.513+0.962s25
1018Lance StrollASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:16.737+1.186s25
1131Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:16.817+1.266s27
126Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:16.823+1.272s29
1314Fernando AlonsoALPINE RENAULT1:16.835+1.284s27
1433Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:16.999+1.448s5
155Sebastian VettelASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1:17.092+1.541s27
1663George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:17.179+1.628s31
177Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:17.273+1.722s27
183Daniel RicciardoMCLAREN MERCEDES1:17.281+1.730s24
1947Mick SchumacherHAAS FERRARI1:17.350+1.799s28
209Nikita MazepinHAAS FERRARI1:17.857+2.306s16