FP2: Bottas on top; Hamilton under investigation

Mark Scott
Red Bull think Pirelli missed an opportunity to improve racing by keeping the 2019 tyre compounds.

Red Bull think Pirelli missed an opportunity to improve racing by keeping the 2019 tyre compounds.

The debate of rejoining the track in an unsafe manner was opened up once again…oh and Valtteri Bottas was fastest in FP2 in France.

Whilst it was Sebastian Vettel under the spotlight in Canada, it was Lewis Hamilton’s turn to be at the centre of the debate after his spin and subsequent return to the track forced Max Verstappen into some evasive action.

The FIA are investigating this fresh incident, which occurred just hours after they held a meeting with Ferrari to discuss what happened in Canada.

Ferrari and the FIA met 45 minutes before the second practice session for around 30 minutes, with the Scuderia saying they had “overwhelming” new evidence to show that they do have grounds to officially appeal the penalty.

The FIA delivered verdicts on both incidents after FP2: Ferrari’s appeal claim was rejected; no further action for Hamilton.

Anyway…back to the session in hand. Bottas was quickest of all with 1:30.937, with Hamilton four tenths down overall. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel remained some way off  the pace in P3 and P4 respectively.

Lando Norris was a surprise inclusion in the top five, showing good pace on both hard and soft tyres.

A spot of medium tyre running was first on the agenda for the majority of the field, with Bottas (1:31.110) sitting top of the pile after the first 30 minutes of the session.  Hamilton was two tenths down in P2, while Verstappen was nine tenths back.

McLaren’s Lando Norris set an early eye-catching time on the hards which was enough to put him P4, 1.3 seconds down in the opening stages.

Big vibrations for Romain Grosjean ensured he would miss more track time following the water leak which ruined his FP1 session.

Hamilton’s first hot lap attempt on the softs didn’t go to plan as he lost the rear of the car, drifted through the corner and took a bollard out for good measure, too. He also compromised Verstappen on his re-entry onto the track, opening up the can of worms again.

The stewards confirmed shortly after that the incident was going to be investigated.

Bottas, meanwhile, found some marginal improvement to begin with by dropping into the 1:30 benchmark.

Ferrari made some quiet progress up the leaderboard, still on the mediums, as Leclerc closed to within six tenths of Bottas’ best to sit P3; Vettel a tenth further back in P4.

Norris once again caught the eye, this time on the softs and within a second of Bottas in P5.

Mercedes’ dominance continued on the long runs…

FP2 leaderboard:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:30.937 33 S
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.424s 25 M
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.649s 30 S
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.728s 31 S
5 Lando Norris McLaren 0.945s 30  S
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.112s 28 S
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.495s 27 S
8 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1.511s 28 S
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.740s 34 S
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.852s 29  S
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.036s 34 S
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 2.083s 33 M
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 2.086s 34 S
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 2.144s 31 S
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2.317s 36 S
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 2.363s 29 S
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 2.654s 27  S
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 2.947s 31 S
19 George Russell Williams 3.677s 33  S
20 Robert Kubica Williams 4.258s 32 S

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