United states GP || October 24 || 14h00 (Local time)

Sochi, FP2: Bottas continues to set the pace, Verstappen takes power unit penalty

Hamilton 2nd, Gasly 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

24 September 2021 - 15:11
Sochi, FP2: Bottas continues to set (...)

After topping the timesheets in the morning, Valtteri Bottas continued to lead the way in the second practice for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by the narrow margin of four hundredths of a second. Meanwhile, championship leader Max Verstappen opted to take a fresh power unit and will thus start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid. The Red Bull driver finished the session in sixth place.

With heavy rain expected to cause disruption on Saturday the session got off to a busy start with Alfa Romeo’s returning Kimi Raikkonen posting the first time of the session, a lap of 1:37.019, on the medium tyres. He was soon bounced out of top spot by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and then Ferrar’s Carlos Sainz both of whom also used medium tyres.

Charles Leclerc then used the soft tyres to go quickest with a lap of 1:35.508 before Bottas jumped to the top of the order with a medium-tyre lap of 1:35.298s. Leclerc reclaimed P1 but as the session reached the quarter-hour mark Alpine’s Fernando Alonso posted a lap of 1:34.762 to rise to P1.

Five minutes later Verstappen and both Mercedes drivers emerged on softs for their qualifying simulations.

Bottas’ 1:33.593 vaulted him back to top spot but Verstappen’s lap was well off the pace and ended up more than a second adrift of the Mercedes driver. Hamilton ran quicker than his team-mate in the opening sector but his pace ebbed marginally over the remainder of the lap and he finished with a best time of 1:33.637, 0.044s behind the Finn.

After the qualifying simulations teams once again switched to long runs but those were interrupted when Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi crashed. The Italian got on the astroturf in Turn 8 and spun backwards into the barriers causing significant damage to the rear of his car. The Alfa Romeo driver tried to limp back to the pit lane but he was quickly ordered to pull over by engineers as he scattered debris across the track.

The red flags were shown and running was halted for 10 minutes. Teams then resumed long runs as the remainder of the session was given over to data gathering.

Pierre Gasly took third place for AlphaTauri with McLaren’s Lando Norris three tenths off the French driver in fourth place. Gasly’s session ended early, however, as his front wing broke when he ran over the sausage kerb at the exit of Turn 2 in the closing minutes of the session. Esteban Ocon was fifth for Alpine ahead of Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz was seventh for Ferrari ahead of the second Alpine of Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel took ninth place for Aston Martin and the top 10 was rounded out by Leclerc.

01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:33.593 19
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:33.637 22
03 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:33.845 22
04 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:34.154 17
05 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:34.402 23
06 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:34.621 20
07 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:34.678 22
08 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:34.762 21
09 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:34.837 22
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:34.925 24
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:34.938 22
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:35.052 23
13 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:35.094 19
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:35.178 14
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:35.334 21
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:35.411 19
17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:35.630 12
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:35.954 23
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:36.099 19
20 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:36.230 20

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