George Russell continued the set the pace for Formula 1’s Sakhir Grand Prix as he edged Max Verstappen by just over a tenth of a second to take top spot in Free Practice 2. Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez finished third, while Russell’s new Mercedes’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas only finished in P11 after having a succession of laps deleted for track limits infringements.
Red Bull Racing driver Verstappen led the way in the opening phase of running with a lap of 55.043s set on medium tires but then as the half way point in the session approached the field retreated to the pit lane to prepare for the move to soft tires for their qualifying simulation runs.
Pérez was the first to show his hand and he used red-banded tires to go quickest with a lap of a 54.866s.
Mercedes’ driver then followed the Mexican out on track and Bottas looked to have usurped the Racing Point driver with lap of 54.506s, but was swiftly deleted as the Finn ran wide at Turn 8 and feel foul of track limits.
Russell then crossed the line in 54.713 and his time remained the benchmark until the flag. The Finn made more attempts at making the most of the soft tires, but he had two more lap times deleted and was forced to settle for 11th from an earlier time set on hard tires.
Verstappen, though, was able to put together a good lap and he dislodged Pérez from P2 with a lap of 54.841 that left him o.128 off Russell. The Dutch driver was less than happy with his RB16, however, complaining frequently about understeer.
Fourth place in the session went to Esteban Ocon, with Albon fifth in the second Red Bull. Daniil Kvyat finished sixth for AlphaTauri ahead of Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly. The top ten order was rounded out by Carlos Sainz.
Further back it was tough session for Ferrari. Charles Leclerc missed the entire session with a half shaft problem, while Sebastian Vettel finished in in P16 and suffered two spins during the session, the second of which saw his spin lose control in Turn 5 and spin into the path of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who was forced to brake hard to avoid the German.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 George Russell Mercedes 54.713 48 233.121
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 54.841 0.128 43 232.577
3 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 54.866 0.153 52 232.471
4 Esteban Ocon Renault 54.940 0.227 50 232.158
5 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 55.036 0.323 42 231.753
6 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 55.068 0.355 58 231.619
7 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 55.104 0.391 44 231.467
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55.124 0.411 47 231.383
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 55.133 0.420 48 231.346
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 55.258 0.545 39 230.822
11 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 55.321 0.608 52 230.559
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 55.484 0.771 54 229.882
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 55.533 0.820 57 229.679
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 55.738 1.025 49 228.834
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 55.784 1.071 52 228.646
16 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 55.830 1.117 43 228.457
17 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 56.031 1.318 14 227.638
18 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas/Ferrari 56.110 1.397 56 227.317
19 Jack Aitken Williams/Mercedes 56.260 1.547 58 226.711
20 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 2