FP2: Bottas quickest…collides with Grosjean

Mark Scott
Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas was quickest once again in Friday practice, but this time he came into contact with Romain Grosjean during the race simulation runs.

Bottas tried to overtake Grosjean and get ahead of him into Turn 11, but Grosjean, who checked his mirrors on a couple of occasions, continued to turn into Finn and it resulted in a smattering of debris littering the track.

Before the bizarre incident, Bottas had continued to set the pace on the first day of practice with a 1:36.256 which was three tenths quicker than his nearest rivals: Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Alex Albon rounded off the top six, with Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.

As the sun began to set and the track cooled, second practice was the first real chance that the teams and drivers could collect some valuable data in conditions more representative to what we are going to see on race night come Sunday.

Vettel, who spun and crashed out late into FP1, was straight back into the action with a new gearbox fitted as a precaution. There will be no five-place grid drop, though, as the race gearbox was not inside the SF90 at the time of the crash.

After the first 30 minutes of running, Vettel was sat down in P5, nine tenths off the early pace set by Max Verstappen – a 1.37.145 on the same medium tyre.

Vettel’s team-mate, Leclerc, almost suffered an identical spin off and crash to Vettel, but was fortunate enough to escape with some battered wheels.

Following the first round of hot laps, Bottas was able to dislodge Verstappen from top spot as he lowered the benchmark to a 1:36.256 with Hamilton three tenths behind in P2.

Leclerc, slightly out of sync to the others after his earlier brush with the wall, went purple-purple in the first two sectors, but lost a chunk of time in the final sector to also put himself three tenths behind Bottas and slightly slower than Hamilton.

Hamilton, with number 44 back on his car after using number 1 on first practice, managed to find some slight improvement on his second clean hot lap, but was still not troubling Bottas’ top spot.

All was calm and serene during the race simulation runs…that was until Bottas and Romain Grosjean collided into each other at Turn 11. Out came the red flags to clear up the debris.

After Hamilton learned who Bottas crashed with, he replied on team radio: “I could have guessed.”

The session restarted with 10 minutes left on the clock, with Bottas able to continue after a quick car clean up in the garage.

FP2 timesheet:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:36.256
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.310s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.386s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.435s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.551s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull 1.032s
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.345s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1.381s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.395s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.514s
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.578s
12 Lando Norris McLaren 1.662s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.729s
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.824s
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.866s
16 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 2.144s
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 2.159s
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 2.208s
19 George Russell Williams 3.256s
20 Robert Kubica Williams 4.199s

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