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Hamilton and Verstappen overshadowed by on-song Bottas under the Qatar lights

Hamilton and Verstappen overshadowed by on-song Bottas under the Qatar lights

F1 News

Hamilton and Verstappen overshadowed by on-song Bottas under the Qatar lights

Hamilton and Verstappen overshadowed by on-song Bottas under the Qatar lights

Valtteri Bottas put Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the shade under the lights for the first time ahead of this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix.

Bottas finished with a leading lap of one minute 23.148s at the Losail International Circuit, finishing 0.209s ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, with F1 title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton off the pace in third and fourth.

Mercedes driver Bottas has shown a new lease of life since the announcement was made in August he would be leaving Mercedes at the end of the season to join Alfa Romeo, taking three of the last four poles in particular.

On a smooth circuit, the type of which enjoyed by Bottas, he was the leading runner on both the medium and soft compound tyres.

Unsurprisingly, the conditions in FP2 were markedly different and representative of what the drivers and teams will encounter during qualifying and the race.

Under the evening lights, compared to the warm afternoon sunshine for FP1, the track temperature was the most significant change with a drop of 10 degrees.

That arguably played more to Mercedes' strengths, in tandem with a fast, flowing circuit dominated by medium-to-high-speed corners.

After leading the way by almost three-tenths-of-a-second over Hamilton on medium tyres with a lap of 1:23.324s, Bottas was the first of the frontrunners to switch to the softs.

He initially shaved over two-tenths off his time with a 1:23.154s, only for it to be deleted for exceeding track limits at turn seven.

When Hamilton followed on his first set of softs for the session, surprisingly there was only marginal improvement before Gasly slotted in to split the pair, 0.033s down.

Bottas' second attempt, though, was legal as he stretched his advantage to 0.209s, carrying a more incisive line through the turn eight-nine chicane, and in turn exiting with more speed.

Verstappen and Hamilton, arguably holding something in reserve ahead of qualifying, finished 0.350s and 0.422s adrift of Bottas respectively.

McLaren's Lando Norris and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll, who both missed out on time in FP1 due to sensor and hydraulic issues in their cars respectively, finished fifth and sixth quickest, around half-a-second back.

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda has fared well so far, and was 0.537s down in seventh, followed by Sergio Perez in his Red Bull. The Mexican has appeared off the pace to date.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari completed the top 10, both within a second of Bottas, as were the following four drivers in Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo.

Haas driver Mick Schumacher finished bottom of the timesheet of those drivers who did post a time, falling 2.427s of Bottas.

Team-mate Nikita Mazepin was forced to sit out the session due to a chassis change after the initial one sustained damage in FP1.

Qatar Grand Prix second practice times

1. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:23.148s

2. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +0.209

3. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.350

4. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] +0.422

5. Lando Norris [McLaren] +0.484

6. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +0.557

7. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +0.587

8. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] ) +0.639

9. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +0.872

10. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +0.885

11. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +0.893

12. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +0.908

13. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +0.947

14. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +0.987

15. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] +1.483

16. George Russell [Williams] +1.806

17. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +1.924

18. Nicolas Latifi [Williams] 2.061

19. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +2.427

20. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] no time

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