FP2: Bottas and Mercedes continue to lead the way

Date published: May 10 2019 - Mark Scott

Valtteri Bottas takes P1 in FP1 and FP2 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas completed a Friday practice double ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix after he pipped Lewis Hamilton to P1 by 0.049 seconds.

Bottas’ 1:17.284 remained unbeaten at a sunny Circuit de Catalunya as Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were both three tenths off the pace in P3 and P4 respectively.

Max Verstappen was seven tenths down in P5, while Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10.

Following Stroll’s heavy shunt into the barrier in FP1, the Canadian was forced to watch from the sidelines in the early stages of FP2; Bottas and Hamilton were amongst the usual late starters alongside Verstappen, with both Mercedes and Red Bull seeing their running interrupted on Friday morning due to suspected oil leaks.

But when Bottas did creep out of the garage 20 minutes into the session, he was straight to the top of the standings with a 1:18.259 on the yellow-striped medium tyres. The Finn quickly whittled that down to a 1:17.835 as we approached the final hour mark; Hamilton was eight tenths down in P4, but on the hard compound.

Ferrari were the first of the big three to launch their first attacking laps on the soft tyres and Vettel edged out his team-mate Leclerc by 0.027 seconds. The new benchmark was a 1:17.673 but Vettel had left plenty on the table in the second and third sectors.

A messy third sector on Vettel’s next run allowed Leclerc to leapfrog his fellow Ferrari driver by 0.088 seconds.

By the halfway point, all 20 drivers had times on the board with Racing Point able to get Stroll’s car back in tip-top shape.

It was then time for Mercedes to launch their response to the Ferrari hot laps and both Bottas and Hamilton were able to push the Ferrari duo off the top two spots.

Bottas again took charge of the leaderboard with a 1:17.284, a tenth faster than his team-mate.

The Finn could not improve on his second qualy sim lap, while Hamilton managed to close to within 0.049 seconds on his attempt.

Leclerc and Vettel were three tenths off the pace; Verstappen seven tenths behind in P5.

The race simulation programmes were run without any major incidents, unlike FP1 after Stroll’s crash, although the likes of Kvyat and Raikkonen did have brief trips off to the gravel trap.

FP2 timesheet

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.284 34 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.049s 35
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.301s 41
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.389s 40
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.751s 29
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 0.869s 41
7 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 0.954s 33
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.071s 40
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.374s 44
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.438s 39
11 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.443s 29
12 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1.495s 43
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.555s 32
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.577s 42
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.650s 39
16 Lando Norris McLaren 1.757s 42
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.143s 36
18 Sergio Perez Racing Point 2.164s 39
19 George Russell Williams 2.907s 37
20 Robert Kubica Williams 3.497s 22

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