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Bottas tops incident filled practice in Portugal

Mat Coch

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Saturday 24th October, 2020 - 3:09am

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Pierre Gasly pic: Fox Sports

Valtteri Bottas has topped an incident packed opening day of practice for the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix which saw two red flag interruptions in the second session.

The Finn was more than half a second clear of Max Verstappen, who was involved in one of the stoppages, with Lando Norris third best.

Lewis Hamilton was 1.3s off the pace in Practice 2, while the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ended up fourth and sixth fastest respectively.

The opening half an hour of the second session had been used in part by Pirelli for tyre testing as it develops a new hard compound tyre for 2021.

Conditions caught a number of drivers out, with spins for Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, and a trip through the gravel for Romain Grosjean.

The session was interrupted by a red flag when Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri caught fire midway through the 90-minute hit out.

The Frenchman stopped on approach to the Turn 14 hairpin, leaping clear as flame engulfed the back end of the car.

A 15-minute delay ensued before the Mercedes pair headed the field back out on track.

Shortly thereafter there was contact between Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen, triggering another red flag.

The pair ran side by side on approach to the first corner, Stroll turning in to the apex despite the presence of the Red Bull to his inside.

Verstappen had entered the front straight in Stroll’s slipstream, pulling along side but unable to clear the Racing Point in a straight line.

Stroll had just completed a timed lap while Verstappen was commencing his first, after taking two warm up laps to bring his tyres up to temperature.

Left stricken in the gravel trap, the incident ended Stroll’s session while Verstappen was able to return to the pits, with stewards confirming they would be looking into the clash.

“To be honest I don’t want to talk about it too much. I was so surprised that he just turned in,” said Verstappen after the session.

“I was coming up to him, so I don’t know where I had to go.

“I was starting my lap, he just finished his lap. We’ll see what happens. It’s FP2 but it’s a shame that we touched. It was just very unnecessary.”

The green flag was shown with eight minutes to run with a flurry of track activity ensuing.

Without a representative flying lap time to his name, Ricciardo’s attempts at a late push lap were thwarted when he came across one of the Williams at Turn 1 as it exited the pits.

A lap later the Australian was able to start his flying effort with just over two minutes to run, climbing up to 12th after dealing with Leclerc’s Ferrari in the middle sector.

Earlier in the day Bottas had also topped Free Practice 1, heading Hamilton by three tenths with Verstappen third fastest.

Leclerc was a promising fourth best for Ferrari while Ricciardo ended the session ninth fastest with a 1:20.058s to be 1.6s away from Bottas’ time.

It was a session dominated by track limit infringements as drivers came to terms with the new venue, which has previously only been used for testing, with more than 60 times deleted.

Final practice follows on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying, those sessions set to begin at 21:00 and midnight AEDT respectively.

Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll clash pic: Fox Sports

Result: Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Time Diff Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.940 32
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:18.535 +0.595s 34
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:18.743 +0.803s 35
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.838 +0.898s 34
5 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:19.113 +1.173s 32
6 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.175 +1.235s 34
7 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1:19.178 +1.238s 26
8 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.308 +1.368s 27
9 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:19.496 +1.556s 32
10 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:19.643 +1.703s 37
11 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:19.821 +1.881s 33
12 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:19.901 +1.961s 34
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:19.987 +2.047s 28
14 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:20.465 +2.525s 33
15 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:20.490 +2.550s 34
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:20.680 +2.740s 29
17 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda 1:20.729 +2.789s 33
18 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:20.867 +2.927s 32
19 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:20.983 +3.043s 26
20 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:21.396 +3.456s 34

Result: Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Practice 1

Pos Num Driver Team Time Diff Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:18.410 35
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.749 +0.339s 35
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:19.191 +0.781s 32
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:19.309 +0.899s 33
5 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:19.365 +0.955s 34
6 55 Carlos Sainz Mclaren Renault 1:19.441 +1.031s 42
7 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:19.907 +1.497s 31
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:19.954 +1.544s 35
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:20.058 +1.648s 27
10 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1:20.124 +1.714s 29
11 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.200 +1.790s 37
12 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:20.207 +1.797s 29
13 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda 1:20.278 +1.868s 32
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:20.846 +2.436s 28
15 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:20.954 +2.544s 32
16 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:21.009 +2.599s 35
17 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:21.169 +2.759s 31
18 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:21.374 +2.964s 31
19 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:21.673 +3.263s 31
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:22.054 +3.644s 34

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