Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Bottas fastest as second practice is red-flagged twice

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix second practice

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Valtteri Bottas once again topped the session times in second practice, in a session heavily disrupted by red flags.

The session was initially stopped following a fire on Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri. A collision between Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen in the final minutes brought the red flags out again.

Track temperatures were significantly higher than the morning session, at 37C, and wind speeds had picked up slightly. Carlos Sainz Jnr immediately reporting that his McLaren felt less stable as soon as he went out on track.

Second practice began with a half-hour Pirelli tyre test. Drivers headed out on theoretically unknown compounds to test for 2021.

Verstappen was fastest after this 30 minute test, setting a 1’21.575 lap. With every car on track to carry out the test, as required by the rules, drivers found it difficult to find space.

The test session proceeded smoothly for the most part, although several drivers complained about graining (Russell) and general degradation on the tyres (Vettel) before the end of their planned runs. Lewis Hamilton returned to the pits early after reporting vibration in the car severe enough that he found it difficult to see.

After that the session continued more normally, most drivers attempting a medium tyre run and the top time briefly being passed back-and-forth by George Russell, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel. However, shortly into his run Gasly’s car caught fire and the session was red-flagged after just 15 minutes of regular practice running.

Verstappen and Sainz nearly collided into turn one shortly before the red flag, which proved somewhat prophetic for for what happened later. Lance Stroll passed Verstappen but the Red Bull driver moved to retake him when the two collided into turn one, both ending up in the gravel. A furious Verstappen was able to return to the pits but the session had to be red flagged again in order for Stroll’s car to be retrieved.

With only 20 minutes remaining, drivers were under pressure to get specific running in if the session was restarted, rather than trying for lap times. The green flag was waved with just under seven minutes to go, leading to a somewhat mixed-up order at the end of the session.

Bottas’ best lap time of 1’17.940 was set before the first red flag, on soft tyres, with Verstappen second-fastest in the session on 1’18.535. Lando Norris set a lap after the chequered flag to go third fastest, slightly under two tenths back from Verstappen on 1’18.743.

Charles Leclerc – who had been frustrated by traffic during a lot of the session – was fourth. Sainz was fifth, McLaren advising him he was losing time to Norris by braking later into turn eight.

Hamilton finished the session only eighth fastest, behind Leclerc and Gasly, on a best time of 1’19.308 – over a second off his team mate – with Esteban Ocon and Alexander Albon completing the top ten.

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’17.94032
233Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’18.5350.59534
34Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’18.7430.80335
416Charles LeclercFerrari1’18.8380.89834
555Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’19.1131.17332
65Sebastian VettelFerrari1’19.1751.23534
710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’19.1781.23826
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’19.3081.36827
931Esteban OconRenault1’19.4961.55632
1023Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’19.6431.70337
1163George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’19.8211.88133
1211Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’19.9011.96134
133Daniel RicciardoRenault1’19.9872.04728
146Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’20.4652.52533
157Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.4902.55034
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’20.6802.74029
1726Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’20.7292.78933
188Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’20.8672.92732
1918Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’20.9833.04326
2099Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.3963.45634

Second practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’17.940

+0.595 Max Verstappen – 1’18.535

+0.803 Lando Norris – 1’18.743

+0.898 Charles Leclerc – 1’18.838

+1.173 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’19.113

+1.235 Sebastian Vettel – 1’19.175

+1.238 Pierre Gasly – 1’19.178

+1.368 Lewis Hamilton – 1’19.308

+1.556 Esteban Ocon – 1’19.496

+1.703 Alexander Albon – 1’19.643

+1.881 George Russell – 1’19.821

+1.961 Sergio Perez – 1’19.901

+2.047 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’19.987

+2.525 Nicholas Latifi – 1’20.465

+2.550 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’20.490

+2.740 Kevin Magnussen – 1’20.680

+2.789 Daniil Kvyat – 1’20.729

+2.927 Romain Grosjean – 1’20.867

+3.043 Lance Stroll – 1’20.983

+3.456 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’21.396

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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3 comments on “Bottas fastest as second practice is red-flagged twice”

  1. That fire certainly put Gasly on backfoot and depending on damage done to Batteries and sensors he might end up starting from pit lane.

    1. @Chaitanya Not as long as the potential fixing required takes place before parc ferme kicks in, only once this happens does a driver have to start from the pit lane exit.

  2. Once again, a new circuit leaves Hamilton behind Bottas. Hamilton almost always finds himself on top come Sunday but if this were a spec series or the gap between teams up front were closer, Hamilton would have a more difficult time of his recent championships.

    Again, whether his total potential is always higher but Bottas reaches his own, lower potential quicker, or if Bottas dedicates his days to F1 study where Hamilton prefers to do something else is unclear. What is clear is Hamilton can overcome ob Sundays while he has that gap. Should that gap come down, he should probably hope that practices aren’t rained out or no new tracks are added.

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