Valtteri Bottas produced the top lap time ahead of a strong-performing Pierre Gasly in FP2 at the inaugural Qatar GP.
The field took to the Losail circuit for the second free practice session of the Qatar GP weekend during a warm Friday evening. The FP2 session only saw 19 cars run due to Nikita Mazepin sitting out the session as his car is repaired following sustained damage to the chassis in FP1.
The drivers started running laps on the medium and hard tires, with the Ferrari duo setting the very early pace on the hard compound. However, this lasted only shortly until the medium-fitted cars came along, with the Mercedes pair going quicker along with Fernando Alonso.
Max Verstappen soon topped the field with a 1:23.743 on medium tires. Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri split the Red Bull teammates, within half a second of the Dutchman.
The Honda-powered party at the top of the timing sheets only lasted for a few minutes. Valtteri Bottas surpassed Verstappen with a 1:23.324, with teammate Lewis Hamilton following three tenths behind.
The drivers soon transitioned to soft tires and Mercedes continued to top the leaderboard. Bottas extended his gap to Hamilton by two tenths before having his lap time deleted for running off track at turn 7. Lando Norris ran 4th and just 3 tenths off Bottas. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll followed less than a tenth behind the McLaren.
Subsequently, Pierre Gasly posted a strong lap to claim 2nd place, 2 tenths shy of the leading Mercedes.
Verstappen’s first lap on soft tires was only good enough for P4, with Sergio Perez a couple of tenths slower in P8. Shortly after, the championship leader’s second shot on softs put him P3 with a 3-tenth deficit to Bottas, who remained fastest with under 20 minutes to go.
At around 15 minutes to go, teams started running race simulations back on the medium and hard compounds. However, Sergio Perez remained in the garage for longer, the crew tinkering with the rear wing of his Red Bull.
Valtteri Bottas ended the session quickest, with a 1:23.148 proving to be the fastest overall. Pierre Gasly followed by 2 tenths of a second and Verstappen trailed 3 tenths behind the leading Mercedes. Hamilton remained in P4 at the end of the session
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||+0.350|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+0.557|
|8||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+0.639|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+0.872|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1.483|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1.924|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||NO TIME|