French GP: Verstappen pips Bottas by 0.008s in FP2

Max Verstappen topped second practice for Formula 1's 2021 French Grand Prix by 0.008 seconds ahead of Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at Paul Ricard.

After Red Bull altered Verstappen's set-up following his third-place result in FP1, the championship leader edged out Bottas, the first practice pace-setter, as the Finn did not find time when running the soft tyres compared to the best of his early laps on the mediums.

When Friday's second one-hour practice got underway, Williams driver George Russell set the P1 benchmark at 1m37.201s on the medium tyres, as he made his first appearance of the weekend after Roy Nissany ran his car in FP1.

Russell was quickly demoted as the pack set their initial laps, with Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi taking over in first place with a 1m35.522s – also on the mediums – after five minutes had passed.

Just a few moments later, Bottas shot to the top of the times with a very competitive 1m32.880s on the yellow-walled rubber, with that time standing as the fastest time for the next 30 minutes.

Hamilton and Verstappen slotted in behind Bottas during the early stages, their best laps on the mediums putting them 0.4s and one-second down respectively.

Verstappen also lost a piece of his front wing when he ran over the large yellow kerbs at the exit of the Turn 2 fast right, which was recovered by a marshal running onto the track under the virtual safety car, as Red Bull informed race director Michael Masi it was running low on such carbon parts.

After 20 minutes, Bottas appeared on the softs for the first time, but, despite going fastest of all at that stage in the first sector, he faded as the lap went on and wound up setting a time that was 0.338s slower than his leading time on the mediums.

Hamilton did then set his best time of FP2 on the softs, but it still left him 0.245s slower than Bottas, as the world champion soon stating: "there's something not right with the car".

Just past the halfway point, Verstappen moved to conduct a qualifying simulation run on the softs, and he set the fastest time in the first sector.

He shipped a bit of time to Bottas in the second sector, which mostly comprises the Mistral Straight, but was able to keep enough life in the softs to set a purple third sector and go quickest with a 1m32.872s.

That put him top by just 0.008s, with Hamilton 0.253s adrift of Verstappen in third, after which the field switched the long-run data gathering in race preparation mode.

Fernando Alonso took fourth for Alpine, ahead of Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine.

F1's other Frenchman, Pierre Gasly, finished just behind his compatriot in seventh, with Carlos Sainz eighth for Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo and McLaren.

Sergio Perez, the winner last time out in Baku, ended up down in P12 as he also initially did not go quicker after switching from the softs to the mediums.

Perez did eventually set his personal best time on the softs, but he still finished a second behind his teammate's session-topping laptime.

Daniel Ricciardo finished P14 in the second McLaren, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, with the Aston Martin pair also ending the session with their best times set on the mediums in the early stages.

Nikita Mazepin brought up the rear of the field for Haas, with the Russian spinning at slow speed as he turned onto the pit straight during the initial running, losing the rear in an identical manner to AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda (P13) did in FP1, as he had looked to begin a flying lap but instead had the car spinning as he put the power down and looping around.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 21 1'32.872
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 27 1'32.880 0.008
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 23 1'33.125 0.253
4 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 25 1'33.340 0.468
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23 1'33.550 0.678
6 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 23 1'33.685 0.813
7 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 25 1'33.696 0.824
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 24 1'33.698 0.826
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 26 1'33.786 0.914
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 24 1'33.822 0.950
11 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 23 1'33.831 0.959
12 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 24 1'33.921 1.049
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 25 1'33.955 1.083
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 24 1'34.079 1.207
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 25 1'34.447 1.575
16 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 24 1'34.632 1.760
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 25 1'35.266 2.394
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 25 1'35.331 2.459
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 24 1'35.512 2.640
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 23 1'35.551 2.679
shares
comments

Related video

French GP practice as it happened
Previous article

French GP practice as it happened

Next article

Bottas unsure if improvement coming from F1 chassis change

Bottas unsure if improvement coming from F1 chassis change
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022