Russell fastest again in practice two, Bottas only 11th - The Race
Formula 1

Russell fastest again in practice two, Bottas only 11th

Dec 4 2020
By Jack Benyon

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Formula 1 stand-in George Russell completed a clean sweep of practice sessions by going fastest in Sakhir Grand Prix FP2, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas had track-limits issues.

While Hamilton’s condition and whether he will be back in time for Abu Dhabi was a key talking point on Friday, so was how rapidly Russell got up to speed in the Mercedes despite some issues with the tightness of the cockpit and uncomfortable safety belts.

The best laps came with around 45 minutes to go on the soft tyres and Bottas delivered two efforts good enough to go quickest, but both were deleted for circuit infringements which left him down in 11th.

His fastest sectors combined for a three tenths advantage over Russell, but his race simulations meant he wasn’t able to put in a headline lap in what was ultimately a scruffy session.

Instead, Max Verstappen was Russell’s closest rival but suffered a number of issues in the Red Bull.

Both he and team-mate Alex Albon reported severe understeer while Verstappen reported a repeat of the car ‘hopping’ coming out of Turn 1, which was present in Bahrain last week.

Verstappen ended the session 0.128s adrift of Russell, but also displayed strong long-run pace which may point to an interesting battle with Mercedes.

Sergio Perez was one of the first drivers to jump onto the soft tyre, and set the third fastest time of the session.

Sergio Perez Racing Point Sakhir Grand Prix 2020

His running wasn’t without drama as part of the Racing Point’s camera mounting came away and landed in his cockpit, and he helpfully drove one-handed to bring the item back to the pits.

Esteban Ocon gave Renault hope on the Outer circuit layout of the Sakhir venue, 0.227s shy of Russell’s benchmark, with Albon just behind in the second Red Bull in fifth.

Daniil Kvyat appeared at home and delivered the sixth fastest time for Alpha Tauri, ahead of Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo who were both bested by their team-mates.

Pierre Gasly was ninth in a strong session for AlphaTauri despite getting hit on his finger by gravel, as Carlos Sainz Jr rounded out the top 10. A gear synchronisation issue halted the McLaren’s progress in the closing stages.

Behind Bottas in 11th, Kimi Raikkonen led Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, with Kevin Magnussen of Haas the first driver over one second off the pace.

It was a nightmare session for Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc failed to set a time due to a halfshaft issue, leaving team boss Mattia Binotto and Leclerc watching on as the rear of the car was dismantled.

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari spin Sakhir Grand Prix 2020

Unfortunately it made for tough viewing as Sebastian Vettel was only 16th fastest behind Williams’s Nicholas Latifi.

Vettel continually ran wide at the exit of Turn 5 and spun twice, narrowly missing Magnussen on one occasion.

Lando Norris missed the majority of the session with floor damage caused by running over the kerb at the exit of Turn 2.

Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas) led fellow newcomer and Williams driver Jack Aitken as they took 18th and 19th respectively.

Practice 2 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 George Russell Mercedes 54.713s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 54.841s +0.128s
3 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 54.866s +0.153s
4 Esteban Ocon Renault 54.94s +0.227s
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 55.036s +0.323s
6 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 55.068s +0.355s
7 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 55.104s +0.391s
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55.124s +0.411s
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 55.133s +0.42s
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 55.258s +0.545s
11 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 55.321s +0.608s
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 55.484s +0.771s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 55.533s +0.82s
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 55.738s +1.025s
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 55.784s +1.071s
16 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 55.83s +1.117s
17 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 56.031s +1.318s
18 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas-Ferrari 56.11s +1.397s
19 Jack Aitken Williams-Mercedes 56.26s +1.547s
20 Charles Leclerc Ferrari
George Russell Mercedes Sakhir Grand Prix 2020

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