Bottas leaves Mercedes on top in Mugello
By Mat Coch
Saturday 12th September, 2020 - 1:42am
The opening day of practice for the inaugural Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix saw Valtteri Bottas atop both sessions.
The Finn headed Max Verstappen in the opening 90-minute session before edging out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.2s in Free Practice 2.
Between Bottas and Hamilton, Mercedes again look in control, though Verstappen was within a tenth of the fastest time in the morning.
Though he fell to a quarter of a second back later in the day, he remained within half a tenth of Hamilton’s best.
Behind the leading trio was a compact group of 14 runners within a second of one another, headed by Alex Albon, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, and Charles Leclerc.
In 18th place, Nicholas Latifi was 1.994s off Bottas’ pace, but only 1.012s away from Albon.
Leclerc was the day’s leading Ferrari driver, the Monegasque setting the 10th fastest time with a 1:18.400 to be 1.411s off the outright pace.
It was a lap 0.1s faster than Vettel who ended FP2 in 12th place, his car rolling to a halt on track as the chequered flag flew to conclude the day’s proceedings.
The German also had a spin as he exited the Correntaio corner but was able to gather the car up and continue.
Leclerc’s day was not blemish free as he also left the road at Correntaio early in FP2.
They were not the only drivers to strike trouble as Lando Norris nosed into the wall to draw the red flags just shy of half way through Practice 2.
The McLaren driver dropped a wheel into the gravel exiting Poggio Secco near the start of the lap, the car snapping left and sending him off the road where he slid along the wall and damaged the front of the car.
It triggered a 10-minute stoppage in the session while Norris would take not further part in the day’s running.
Raikkonen too was struck trouble when he was bundled into to gravel at San Donato, the opening corner, when Perez made contact with the Alfa Romeo.
The Racing Point driver had just exited the lane, reaching the apex of the first turn just behind Raikkonen who’d steamed down to the corner on the racing line.
The contact left the Alfa Romeo in the garage and Perez with front wing damage and an appointment with the stewards. Officials hung out the red flag to clear the debris before restarting the session.
It was the second time Perez had been involved in a kerfuffle at the corner, having almost had a run-in with Romain Grosjean in opening practice, though in that instance contact was avoided.
During that session, Leclerc had shown glimpses of pace for the Scuderia, banking the third fastest time ahead of Hamilton and Gasly, though Vettel remained languishing in the midfield, 1.388s off the 1:17.879 benchmark laid down by Bottas.
Racing Point also loitered towards the foot of the table, with only Latifi slower than Lance Stroll (18th, 1:19.836s) and Perez (19th, 1:19.840s).
Work on Stroll’s RP20 did keep the Canadian off track for the early part of the session, leaving time for just 23 laps to be completed – only Raikkonen did less.
The 2007 world champion was busier later in the day, racking up 38 laps in Practice 2, the second most of any driver behind Vettel (39 laps).
Conditions in Mugello are forecast to remain stable across the weekend, with temperatures predicted to climb just a single degree on Saturday to 29, before hitting 31 degrees on Sunday.
Practice continues on Saturday from 20:00 AEST ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s race from 23:00 AEST.
Result: Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix, Practice 2
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:17.235||+0.246s|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:17.971||+0.982s|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:18.198||+1.209s|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.244||+1.255s|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:18.385||+1.396s|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:18.462||+1.473s|
|13||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:18.651||+1.662s|
|14||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:18.658||+1.669s|
|15||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.736||+1.747s|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:18.843||+1.854s|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:18.944||+1.955s|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:18.983||+1.994s|
|19||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:19.113||+2.124s|
|20||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:19.257||+2.268s|
Result: Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix, Practice 1
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:17.927||+0.048s|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.676||+0.797s|
|7||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.839||+0.960s|
|8||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:18.981||+1.102s|
|9||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:19.068||+1.189s|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:19.219||+1.340s|
|12||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:19.224||+1.345s|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:19.322||+1.443s|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:19.457||+1.578s|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:19.478||+1.599s|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:19.551||+1.672s|
|18||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:19.836||+1.957s|
|19||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:19.840||+1.961s|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:20.034||+2.155s|