FP2: Bottas turns the table to top Friday's running
While Piere Gasly was second fastest, just like in the first practice session, this time he was topped by Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes. Verstappen, the best man of the first session was third fastest.
The second session of the day took place under the lights around Losail Circuit with temperatures that should be much more representative to what is to be expected in qualifying and the race on Sunday. After drivers pushed track limits in FP1, the stewards clarified ahead of FP2 that track limits were to be set by the purple and white kerbs across the whole circuit.
Ahead of the session, the FIA conveniently announced it had denied the appeal to Verstappen's penalty-free defence for the lead at Brazil right at the time when Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner were together in the press conference. Wolff reacted "it was already clear that this appeal was going nowhere".
After an easy FP1 for Mercedes, Bottas topped the times almost throughout the session, initially on the hard tyres topping teammate Lewis Hamilton, and later on staying ahead when everybody went for the soft compound Pirellis. Traffic however became a problem, and probably will be for qualifying as well.
With Hamilton 4th fastest, just like this morning, the top 4 are the same, just in a different order. Behind them, Lando Norris slotted into P5, much more in line of what was to be expected from McLaren on this circuit.
Lance Stroll bounced back from a difficult first practice to go 6th fastest, ahead of the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda. Sergio Perez was 8th just like in the earlier session, followed by Vettel and Sainz as they completed the top 10.
Just outside that top 10 are both Alpines with Ocon leading Alonso by less than two hundredths of a second. Charles Leclerc ended up 13th after running wide on a late run on softs.
Daniel Ricciardo, half a second slower than his teammate, ended up in 14th, ahead of Raikkonen, Russel, Giovinazzi and Latifi.
Mick Schumacher completed the field and was 2.4s off the pace as his teammate Nikita Mazepin sat out the session after needing a new chassis following a hard hit on the kerbs in first practice.
|2||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:23.357||+0.209s||27|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:23.498||+0.350s||20|
|5||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:23.632||+0.484s||24|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:23.705||+0.557s||26|
|7||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:23.735||+0.587s||28|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:23.787||+0.639s||20|
|9||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:24.020||+0.872s||27|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:24.041||+0.893s||29|
|12||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:24.056||+0.908s||25|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:24.135||+0.987s||24|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:24.631||+1.483s||26|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:24.954||+1.806s||27|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:25.072||+1.924s||23|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:25.209||+2.061s||28|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:25.575||+2.427s||27|