France, FP2: Verstappen on top in 2nd practice for French Grand Prix

Bottas 2nd, Hamilton 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

18 June 2021 - 16:03
France, FP2: Verstappen on top in (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen narrowly took top spot in second practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix, beating Valtteri Bottas by eight hundredths of a second at Paul Ricard Circxuit. Bottas’ Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished third.

Bottas set the pace in the early stages of the afternoon session, setting a target of 1:32.880s on medium tyres. Hamilton and Verstappen took scond and third places respectively during this phase, with Hamilton four tenths off his team-mate, while Verstappen was a second down on the Finn’s P1 time.

In the morning session Bottas has clattered over the kerbs in Turn and damaging the front wing of his Mercedes. And in the opening half hour of the second session Verstappen suffered in a similar fashion. The Dutchmen went wide on entry, bounced across the yellow kerbs and snapped a section of front wing in the process. With two races in Austria coming in quick succession after France and with the Red Bull Ring’s kerbs known to be harsh on front wings, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner requested the the part be recovered from the track and returned to the team for repair.

With Bottas secure at the top of the order on medium tyres, the Finn was among the first to then make the move to soft tyres for performance runs around 20 minutes into the session.

However, for the Finn, the expected improvement on the softer tyre did not arrive and though he set a purple time in the opening sector of the lap, his soft tyres wilted as the lap wore on and he finished three tents of a second slower than his best time on mediums.

Hamilton found an improvement on the red-walled tyre but his best time of the session was still not good enough to move ahead of his team-mate’s medium-tyre time.

Verstappen was next to bolt on softs and thanks to purple times in the first and last sectors he managed to edge just ahead of Bottas thanks to a lap of 1:32.872.

It was a less successful session for Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Pérez. The Baku winner, who later admitted to taking a wrong turn on set-up, failed to significantly improve on soft tyres and finished in P12, a full second off his team-mate’s pace.

Fernando Alonso took fourth for Alpine, ahead of Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly finished in seventh place with Carlos Sainz eighth for Ferrari ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:32.872 21
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:32.880 27
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:33.125 23
04 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:33.340 25
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:33.550 23
06 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:33.685 23
07 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:33.696 25
08 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:33.698 24
09 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:33.786 26
10 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:33.822 24
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:33.831 23
12 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:33.921 24
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:33.955 25
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:34.079 24
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:34.447 25
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:34.632 24
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:35.266 25
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:35.331 25
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:35.512 24
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:35.551 23

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