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
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021