Valteri Bottas was the fastest in the second practice



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Valteri Bottas was the fastest in the second practice

Valtteri Bottas was the fastest in the second free practice for the Russian Grand Prix, where he was four hundredths faster than his teammate Lewis Hamilton, and Max Verstappen finished only sixth for Red Bull. Leclerc led at the start of training with the best time on soft tires 1: 34.925, almost four tenths ahead of Bottas and Hamilton in Mercedes who then held second and third place on medium tires.

15 minutes after the start of training, Alonso broke Leclerc's time on soft tires and drove 1: 34.762 with the best third sector, 0.163 seconds ahead of Leclerc, while Ocon was 0.232 seconds slower than his teammate in third place.

Verstappen was only one tenth faster than Alonso on the soft and took him from the first place, but then Bottas significantly improved the best time on the soft and drove 1: 33.593, more than a second ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton then drove the best first sector on the soft, 0.171 seconds faster than Bottas, but by the end of the lap he lost that advantage and took second place, 0.044 seconds behind his teammate.

Other drivers

Norris drove the third best time on the soft, 0.561 seconds behind Bottas and thus he was ahead of Verstappen, and Gasly later took third place from Norris with 0.252 seconds behind Bottas.

Giovinazzi crashed 25 minutes before the end of training when he lost control of the back end on the way out of the eighth corner, in the same place where Leclerc had previously twisted, and the Italian hit the barriers with the back end and caused a red flag.

The Italian continued after the collision, although he broke the rear wing, but the team soon told him to stop by the track because they were losing parts from the car. Training continued 16 minutes before the time expired, and drivers focused on simulating longer sections in preparation for the race and driving a few seconds slower.

Gasly damaged his nose and front wing on his AlphaTauri AT01 at the end of training, but managed to get to the pits with yellow flags appearing after his incident. Hamilton then drove the best first sector on the soft, 0.171 seconds faster than Bottas, but by the end of the lap he lost that advantage and took second place, 0.044 seconds behind his teammate.

Bottas remained the fastest ahead of Hamilton and Gasly, Norris was fourth for McLaren ahead of Ocon at Alpine and sixth Verstappen who will start as the last after Red Bull’s decision to give him a new Honda drive unit for this weekend.

The third free practice is scheduled for Saturday at 11:00, and the qualifiers should start at 14:00 if there is no delay due to rain.