Japanese GP: Bottas tops FP2 session that could decide grid

Valtteri Bottas survived spinning on the run to Suzuka’s start/finish straight to top second practice for Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Japanese GP: Bottas tops FP2 session that could decide grid

Bottas was preparing to start the first flying lap of his qualifying simulation runs when he looped his W10 through the kink that follows the final chicane.

He continued but could only lap just under half a second down on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who set the pace on those first qualifying simulation runs despite having his own effort interrupted by Bottas' spin.

Hamilton improved fractionally from a 1m27.896s lap to a 1m27.885s best on his second set of tyres, before Bottas jumped to the top of the timesheet with a 1m27.785s effort.

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No one else managed to lap faster than 1m28s. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull-Honda was best of the rest, almost three tenths down on Bottas.

The result, coupled with the FIA's clarification that FP2 may determine the grid for Sunday's race, means that Mercedes could be in line to lock out the front row should the rescheduled qualifying not take place on Sunday morning.

Ferrari elected to leave it until the very end of the session for its drivers to do their second qualifying simulation runs.

Charles Leclerc improved from sixth- to fourth-quickest with a lap less than a tenth slower than Verstappen's best that also displaced Sebastian Vettel to fifth.

Vettel was just under six tenths slower than Bottas, while Alex Albon managed to split the Ferraris initially before slipping to sixth, just over six tenths off the pace.

Carlos Sainz continued to lead the way among the midfield runners, his McLaren almost three tenths faster than the Racing Point of Sergio Perez and six and a half tenths down on Albon's Red Bull-Honda.

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly left it late to move into the top 10, taking ninth place by 0.004s from Lando Norris, who still made it two McLarens in the top 10.

Renault endured a difficult second session while continuing to evaluate a front wing upgrade. Daniel Ricciardo was only 17th-quickest and Nico Hulkenberg 18th.

Robert Kubica narrowly edged George Russell in the battle of the two Williams drivers, lapping just over half a second off Hulkenberg and 0.155s faster than Russell.

Session results

Cla # Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 33 1'27.785  
2 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 34 1'27.885 0.10
3 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 24 1'28.066 0.281
4 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 28 1'28.141 0.356
5 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 37 1'28.376 0.591
6 23 Thailand Alex Albon Red Bull 34 1'28.402 0.617
7 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 29 1'29.051 1.266
8 11 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point 28 1'29.299 1.514
9 10 France Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 34 1'29.354 1.569
10 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 35 1'29.358 1.573
11 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 29 1'29.477 1.692
12 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 35 1'29.512 1.727
13 8 France Romain Grosjean Haas 28 1'29.553 1.768
14 18 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 27 1'29.597 1.812
15 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 33 1'29.651 1.866
16 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 31 1'29.749 1.964
17 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 30 1'29.859 2.074
18 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Renault 29 1'30.334 2.549
19 88 Poland Robert Kubica Williams 35 1'30.916 3.131
20 63 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 36 1'31.071 3.286
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Sub-event FP2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Valtteri Bottas , Max Verstappen
Teams Mercedes
Author Ben Anderson
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