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French GP: Bottas sets commanding pace in FP2

Valtteri Bottas topped the second Formula 1 free practice session for the French Grand Prix, with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton making a mistake that cost him his qualifying simulation run.

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French GP: Bottas sets commanding pace in FP2

Bottas set the pace in the early running using medium-compound Pirellis – the C3 this weekend – by lapping 0.251s quicker than Hamilton with a time of 1m31.110s.

While he didn't make a massive improvement on his quick lap using softs later in the session, posting a 1m30.937s, this was enough to top the session by 0.424s.

Hamilton's fast run on softs was ruined by the rear stepping out at Turn 3, which sent him sliding sideways and behind at the exit of the corner then across the track and onto the Turn 4 runoff.

He rejoined just before Turn 5, just as Max Verstappen was on what should have been his first qualifying simulation lap.

The Red Bull driver ran a little wide after being left room by Hamilton when the rear stepped out on the power and sent him onto the run-off area – with the stewards due to investigate the incident after the session.

Hamilton did not complete another quick lap on the softs and - although did use them again on heavier fuel later in the session - so had to rely on his first-run time using mediums to take second.

Charles Leclerc was third fastest for Ferrari after jumping ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.079s with his second quick lap.

Vettel had to set his time on his second attempt on his qualifying simulation run after backing off on his first push lap when he ran wide.

Lando Norris jumped up to fifth for McLaren in the final half hour, lapping 0.945s off Bottas to continue his and McLaren's encouraging practice form.

He was helped by Verstappen not being able to unleash the full pace of the Red Bull, running the new Honda 'Spec 3' turbocharger and V6 along with teammate Pierre Gasly and Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

After aborting his first lap, Verstappen lost another to a wide moment and ultimately only made a 0.018s on his medium-compound pace.

Carlos Sainz made it two McLarens in the top seven with a lap 1.495s off the pace, which put him 0.016s ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was ninth ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen after making a series of improvements on his softs.

He was backed up by Antonio Giovinazzi in 11th, just ahead of the lead Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Alex Albon, running the old-spec Honda components, was 13th fastest, just 0.003s behind Ricciardo, and ahead of the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg, like his teammate running an upgraded Renault, was 14th fastest but suffered a spin at Turn 4 with 24 minutes remaining.

Kvyat rounded out the top 15, 2.317s off the pace, although he does not need to focus on qualifying pace given the penalties mean he must start at the back or from the pits.

Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 16th and 18th, separated by almost six tenths of a second.

They sandwiched Romain Grosjean, who had a difficult session in the Haas starting with a big lockup on his first set of mediums that led to him curtailing his first run then continuing with struggles on the softs.

As usual, Williams pairing George Russell and Robert Kubica brought up the rear, with 0.581s separating the pair.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 34 1'30.937
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 25 1'31.361 0.424
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 31 1'31.586 0.649
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 32 1'31.665 0.728
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 31 1'31.882 0.945
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 29 1'32.049 1.112
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 27 1'32.432 1.495
8 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull 29 1'32.448 1.511
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 34 1'32.677 1.740
10 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 30 1'32.789 1.852
11 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 34 1'32.973 2.036
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 34 1'33.020 2.083
13 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 35 1'33.023 2.086
14 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 32 1'33.081 2.144
15 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 37 1'33.254 2.317
16 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 30 1'33.300 2.363
17 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 27 1'33.591 2.654
18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 32 1'33.884 2.947
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 33 1'34.614 3.677
20 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 32 1'35.195 4.258
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Series Formula 1
Event French GP
Author Edd Straw
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