Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in Brazil FP2
Valtteri Bottas led Mercedes to a one-two finish in second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on Friday afternoon, edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton by just three-thousandths of a second.
After seeing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lead the way in first practice, 2017 Interlagos pole-sitter Bottas managed to rise to the head of the field through the qualifying simulation runs on the Supersoft tyre midway through FP2.
Bottas recorded a fastest lap time of 1m08.846s on his second push lap with the Supersofts, having locked up on his initial effort, forcing the Finn to abandon the lap.
Bottas’ time was nevertheless good enough to secure P1 by just 0.003 seconds from Hamilton, who lost half a tenth to Bottas in the middle sector, costing the five-time world champion P1.
Sebastian Vettel led Ferrari’s charge in third place, 0.073 seconds back from Bottas after also losing his first flying lap on the Supersofts following a mistake.
Vettel reported that something had come loose in the footwell of his car, prompting Ferrari to pit the German and check things over. He was sent out later on, only to have another brief scare when a potential issue with his left-rear tyre was reported by Ferrari.
Over the long runs, Vettel appeared to have an edge over both Mercedes drivers, with Hamilton telling his engineer that “something doesn’t feel right” late in the session as he struggled to match his rival’s lap times.
Daniel Ricciardo was the quickest Red Bull driver in fourth place, three-tenths off the pace, ahead of Verstappen in P5. Verstappen sat out the first half of the session due to an oil leak on his car, but ultimately got out to finish half a second down on Bottas, albeit with a compromised final sector after being held up by Williams’ Lance Stroll.
Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth for Ferrari ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean, who led the midfield teams in P7. Charles Leclerc took eighth place for Sauber ahead of Magnussen in the second Haas, while Esteban Ocon completed the top 10 for Force India.
The only major incident in the session came early on when Nico Hulkenberg crashed hard exiting Turn 13, running wide over the kerb and touching the grass. The Renault car was sent spinning into the barrier, damaging the right-rear and right-front ends of the car. It also meant the German could only complete six laps in total through FP2.
The field will return to the track for Free Practice 3 on Saturday at Interlagos at 12pm local time (2pm GMT).
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