Photo: FIA

Bottas Continues to Set Pace at Mugello Ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen


After topping the order in the opening practice session for this weekend’s first F1 Tuscan Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas continued to set the pace at Mugello in the afternoon, beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton by over two tenths of a second in a session that was twice interrupted by red flags.

Bottas led the way in the opening phase of the session, run largely on medium tires and the Finn took P1 on the yellow banded tires with a time of 1:18.019. The field then began to move to soft tires for qualifying simulations when Lando Norris sent the field back to the pit lane when he went off at Turn 3, Poggio Secco.

The McLaren driver had started his quali sim when he went wide on the corner exit and slid through the gravel trap. He hit the barriers nose first, detaching the front wing, before coming to rest. Unable to get going again, his stoppage brought out the red flags.

The session resumed after almost 10-minutes and the Mercedes cars emerged on soft tires for their qualifying runs. Bottas went quickest of all through the first two sectors as he held the top spot with a lap of 1:16.989. Hamilton was quickest in the final sector but the deficit across the first two sectors left him 0.207 behind his team-mate.

Max Verstappen took third place in the session and kept Mercedes honest by finishing just under four hundredths of a second behind Hamilton. The Dutchman’s team-mate Alex Albon was fourth, but the Thai driver was more than seven tenths of a second adrift of Verstappen.

Albon was, however, the last drive to get within a second of Bottas.

Renault took fifth and sixth in the session, with Daniel Ricciardo edging team-mate Esteban Ocon by a fraction under eight hundredths of a second. Ocon finished ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the Alfa Rome of Kimi Räikkönen.

After Charles Leclerc opened the weekend of Ferrari’s 1000th race with a useful looking third place in the opening session, the afternoon was more muted for the Scuderia with Leclerc finishing in 10th position and Sebastian Vettel ending the session in P12.

The long runs in the second half of the session were interrupted by a second flag when Sergio Pérez and Kimi Räikkönen collided.

Räikkönen was starting lap when Pérez emerged from the pit lane. The Mexican seemed not to see the Finn and as they went into Turn 1 he clipped the rear of Räikkönen’s car as the Alfa Romeo driver turned in. Räikkönen was left beached in the gravel trap and the red flags were once again displayed.

Elsewhere, there was trouble for Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman completed just five laps in the session due to an electrical problem on his Haas car.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:16.989 28 245.255
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.196 0.207 29 244.598
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:17.235 0.246 25 244.474
4 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:17.971 0.982 28 242.166
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:18.039 1.050 32 241.955
6 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:18.115 1.126 29 241.720
7 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:18.198 1.209 34 241.463
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:18.244 1.255 30 241.322
9 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:18.385 1.396 38 240.887
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.400 1.411 27 240.841
11 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:18.462 1.473 37 240.651
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.498 1.509 39 240.541
13 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:18.651 1.662 32 240.073
14 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:18.658 1.669 9 240.051
15 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:18.736 1.747 33 239.814
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:18.843 1.854 33 239.488
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:18.944 1.955 35 239.182
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:18.983 1.994 31 239.064
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:19.113 2.124 32 238.671
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:19.257 2.268 5 238.237

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