French GP: Bottas sets commanding pace in FP2

Valtteri Bottas topped the second Formula 1 free practice session for the French Grand Prix, with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton making a mistake that cost him his qualifying simulation run.

French GP: Bottas sets commanding pace in FP2

Bottas set the pace in the early running using medium-compound Pirellis – the C3 this weekend – by lapping 0.251s quicker than Hamilton with a time of 1m31.110s.

While he didn't make a massive improvement on his quick lap using softs later in the session, posting a 1m30.937s, this was enough to top the session by 0.424s.

Hamilton's fast run on softs was ruined by the rear stepping out at Turn 3, which sent him sliding sideways and behind at the exit of the corner then across the track and onto the Turn 4 runoff.

He rejoined just before Turn 5, just as Max Verstappen was on what should have been his first qualifying simulation lap.

The Red Bull driver ran a little wide after being left room by Hamilton when the rear stepped out on the power and sent him onto the run-off area – with the stewards due to investigate the incident after the session.

Hamilton did not complete another quick lap on the softs and - although did use them again on heavier fuel later in the session - so had to rely on his first-run time using mediums to take second.

Charles Leclerc was third fastest for Ferrari after jumping ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.079s with his second quick lap.

Vettel had to set his time on his second attempt on his qualifying simulation run after backing off on his first push lap when he ran wide.

Lando Norris jumped up to fifth for McLaren in the final half hour, lapping 0.945s off Bottas to continue his and McLaren's encouraging practice form.

He was helped by Verstappen not being able to unleash the full pace of the Red Bull, running the new Honda 'Spec 3' turbocharger and V6 along with teammate Pierre Gasly and Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

After aborting his first lap, Verstappen lost another to a wide moment and ultimately only made a 0.018s on his medium-compound pace.

Carlos Sainz made it two McLarens in the top seven with a lap 1.495s off the pace, which put him 0.016s ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was ninth ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen after making a series of improvements on his softs.

He was backed up by Antonio Giovinazzi in 11th, just ahead of the lead Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Alex Albon, running the old-spec Honda components, was 13th fastest, just 0.003s behind Ricciardo, and ahead of the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg, like his teammate running an upgraded Renault, was 14th fastest but suffered a spin at Turn 4 with 24 minutes remaining.

Kvyat rounded out the top 15, 2.317s off the pace, although he does not need to focus on qualifying pace given the penalties mean he must start at the back or from the pits.

Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 16th and 18th, separated by almost six tenths of a second.

They sandwiched Romain Grosjean, who had a difficult session in the Haas starting with a big lockup on his first set of mediums that led to him curtailing his first run then continuing with struggles on the softs.

As usual, Williams pairing George Russell and Robert Kubica brought up the rear, with 0.581s separating the pair.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1'30.937  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 1'31.361 0.424
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 31 1'31.586 0.649
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 32 1'31.665 0.728
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 31 1'31.882 0.945
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 29 1'32.049 1.112
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 27 1'32.432 1.495
8 France Pierre Gasly Red Bull 29 1'32.448 1.511
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 34 1'32.677 1.740
10 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 30 1'32.789 1.852
11 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 34 1'32.973 2.036
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 34 1'33.020 2.083
13 Thailand Alex Albon Toro Rosso 35 1'33.023 2.086
14 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Renault 32 1'33.081 2.144
15 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 37 1'33.254 2.317
16 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 30 1'33.300 2.363
17 France Romain Grosjean Haas 27 1'33.591 2.654
18 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 32 1'33.884 2.947
19 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 33 1'34.614 3.677
20 Poland Robert Kubica Williams 32 1'35.195 4.258
Hamilton under investigation for Verstappen incident

Previous article

Hamilton under investigation for Verstappen incident

Next article

FIA dismisses Ferrari bid for Vettel penalty review

FIA dismisses Ferrari bid for Vettel penalty review
Load comments
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021