Valtteri Bottas took the lead for Mercedes in the second free practice for the Qatar GP, which was driven in the evening, and Pierre Gasly set an impressive second fastest time for AlphaTauri. Mazepin did not perform in the second free practice due to chassis damage in the first free practice, so he will have to return to the old chassis specification, which is heavier than the new one, which Schumacher has been using all season.
Drivers rode on medium and hard tires at the start of the second practice, and Tsunoda set the fastest time on medium tires, 1: 24.233, half a tenth faster than Verstappen and a tenth faster than Perez on the same tires.
12 minutes after the start of training, Verstappen drives a new fastest time on a medium of 1: 23.743, half a second faster than Tsunoda, and only two-hundredths of a second slower than his fastest time, which he set on soft tires in the first training session.
Hamilton (on medium tires) beats Verstappen’s time by one-tenth (1: 23.604), but Bottas immediately beats his time on the same tires by almost three-tenths (1: 23.324). Bottas (on the soft) drives a new best time of 1: 23.154 although he flew wide in the seventh corner so his lap was subsequently cleared, and Hamilton barely fixes his time on the medium and drives 1: 23.570.
In his second fast lap on soft, Bottas drove 1: 23.148, 0.006 faster than in the lap in which he flew wide in the seventh corner, and that time remained the fastest until the end of training. Perez had traffic problems in the first fast lap on soft tires and gave up the fast lap, and Verstappen flew wide in the tenth corner and set the fourth-fastest time, 0.431 seconds behind Bottas and 0.009 s behind Hamilton.
Gasly was second-fastest for AlphaTauri at the time with 0.209 seconds behind, which he kept until the end of the training, and Bottas remained the fastest for Mercedes, six tenths faster than the fastest time set by Verstappen in the first practice.
Verstappen finished third after reducing the gap to Bottas to 0.350 seconds, and Hamilton was fourth with 0.422 from the gap. Norris was fifth fastest for McLaren with 0.484 behind, seven hundredths ahead of Stroll and a tenth ahead of Tsunoda, and Perez finished eighth for Red Bull, three tenths behind teammate Verstappen.
Vettel was ninth for Aston Martin ahead of Sainz as a faster Ferrari driver, and Ocon was tenth for Alpine, 0.015 seconds ahead of Alonso. Leclerc was 13th in the second Ferrari ahead of Ricciardo in the second McLaren who is the last driver to be less than a second behind the fastest Bottas, and 15th was Raikkonen in the Ferrari.
As a faster Williams driver, Russell finished 16th fastest ahead of Giovinazzi in Alfa Romeo, Latifi in second Williams, and Schumacher in Haas. The third free practice is scheduled for Saturday at 12:00, and the qualifiers begin at 15:00.