Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2019

Bottas fastest, Hamilton under investigation for Verstappen incident

2019 French Grand Prix second practice

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Mercedes remained ahead in the second practice session for the French Grand Prix but this time it was Valtteri Bottas who led the way.

Bottas, who arrived in France second in the world championship, comfortably headed the session by four-tenths of a second over points leader Lewis Hamilton. Bottas’s best effort, a 1’30.937, was one-and-a-half seconds quicker than the best time seen on Friday last year at Paul Ricard.

Hamilton had a half-spin at turn four as he began his qualifying simulation, which wiped out the bollard at the apex of the corner. He rejoined the track as Max Verstappen came by, which appeared to cause the Red Bull driver to go off the circuit at turn five, an incident the stewards will look into after the session.

There were further problems for Hamilton when Mercedes discovered a misfire on his car when he returned to the pits. This was later remedied, though it cost him some track time. He was far from the only driver to go off during the session, however, as tricky conditions and punishing 55C track temperatures tested the drivers.

The Ferrari drivers were the closest threat to Mercedes, though only in a relative sense. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were over six-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton.

The next-fastest driver, surprisingly, was not in a Red Bull but a McLaren. Lando Norris set the fifth-fastest time for McLaren after being one of the last drivers to swap the medium rubber for the more fragile softs. He relegated Verstappen to sixth, while Carlos Sainz Jnr also got the other McLaren ahead of Gasly.

The top 10 was completed by Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen. Antonio Giovinazzi put his Alfa Romeo in 11th, but the other Haas driver had a torrid time. Romain Grosjean was heard complaining about his tyres several times and ended up 17th fastest, eight-tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’30.93734
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.3610.42425
316Charles LeclercFerrari1’31.5860.64931
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1’31.6650.72832
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’31.8820.94531
633Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’32.0491.11229
755Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’32.4321.49527
810Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’32.4481.51129
97Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.6771.74034
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’32.7891.85230
1199Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.9732.03634
123Daniel RicciardoRenault1’33.0202.08334
1323Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’33.0232.08635
1427Nico HulkenbergRenault1’33.0812.14432
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’33.2542.31737
1611Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’33.3002.36330
178Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’33.5912.65427
1818Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’33.8842.94732
1963George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’34.6143.67733
2088Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’35.1954.25832

Second practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’30.937

+0.424 Lewis Hamilton – 1’31.361

+0.649 Charles Leclerc – 1’31.586

+0.728 Sebastian Vettel – 1’31.665

+0.945 Lando Norris – 1’31.882

+1.112 Max Verstappen – 1’32.049

+1.495 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’32.432

+1.511 Pierre Gasly – 1’32.448

+1.740 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’32.677

+1.852 Kevin Magnussen – 1’32.789

+2.036 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’32.973

+2.083 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’33.020

+2.086 Alexander Albon – 1’33.023

+2.144 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’33.081

+2.317 Daniil Kvyat – 1’33.254

+2.363 Sergio Perez – 1’33.300

+2.654 Romain Grosjean – 1’33.591

+2.947 Lance Stroll – 1’33.884

+3.677 George Russell – 1’34.614

+4.258 Robert Kubica – 1’35.195

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 French Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Bottas fastest, Hamilton under investigation for Verstappen incident”

  1. Nice lap from Norris. Would be a huge shame if something ruined McLaren’s weekend.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur Yes indeed. It indeed would be a shame if something were to ruin Mclaren’s weekend.

  2. A glance at Red Bull’s current runs – also on the mediums – suggests RB, or definitely Verstappen at least, very much have something for Ferrari on race pace.

  3. I think I’ll go and predict Bottas pole and win for now, this is the sort of asphalt that Bottas does well at (and time he doesn’t miss pole in the end!).

    I also hope that Ferrari was running the PU turned down/with quite a bit of fuel, and I think that quite often they have been able to show better from Saturday, but otherwise, only misfortune stops this from being more than a 1-2 Merc, with Verstappen then probably getting 3rd, and Vettel-Leclerc 4th,5th.

    On the penalty, I get that after last race, it’s of interest, but I wasn’t really interested in Sky/FOM tv dealing with it for over 5 minutes and three or four identical replays that didn’t tell us anything new: yes, he blocked Verstappen, but it would be a first when he’d get more than a reprimand, since it was practice, and hardly unsafe in the end (thanks to now wall admittedly, but still).

    1. Unfortunately I find the Sky commentary team inconsistent interpretation of on track incidents, given their stated views on the Seb/Lewis incident in Canada and then their view on the Lewis/Max incident in France I find it strange that they said they felt Lewis’s rejoin was unsafe(ish) but they hope he doesn’t get a penalty because it was “practice”.

      1. I listen to sky on f1tv mainly because they have a large team so the non-commentators often have tidbits sooner than I get them otherwise (though being a fan, twitter and this site often mean the first half an hour is stuff I already know for hours/days); otherwise, I prefer the f1 app’s (bbc5 live) commentary team, or the much more relaxed Dutch guys (often biased, may be wrong or uninformer, but are having fun) @foggy

      2. How was inconsistent when they didn’t think there should have being a penalty in Canada

  4. The fact the stewards are even looking at the Hamilton/Verstappen incident is as pathetic as the fact they looked at the Vettel/Hamilton incident in Canada.

    1. @stefmeister
      Totally different story.
      In Canada it happened during the race, where track position, you know, is crucial. Vettel rejoined unsafely and forced Hamilton to back up to avoid hitting the wall, so gaining an unfair advantage.
      Today we were in free practice where track position means nothing.
      Hamilton made a mistake and rejoined, but he wasn’t on the throttle, didn’t squeeze Verstappen on a wall and actually he didn’t even force him to go out. Max chose to go on the outside, dirtier part of the track and went off. No big deal.

      1. @liko41 Different but I still think the fact either was investigated is pathetic.

        I don’t think the Vettel/Hamilton thing should have been investigated (I don’t think it was unsafe or dangerous & neither do a majority of the drivers it seems) & I don’t think it should have resulted in a penalty & the same is true with the Hamilton/Verstappen one today.

        Just leave them to race unless somebody does something that’s truly dangerous or outrageous. Stuff like Montreal/Today & other bits of racing incidents should just be left upto the drivers to discuss it after the fact which is the way it used to be in the past. There’s too much regulation now & I don’t think it’s helping the racing or F1’s image in general.

        1. @stefmeister
          “racing” doesnt mean cutting corners and rejoining the track gaining an advantage.
          Never been, never will.
          Deal with it.

          1. @stefmeister

            ““racing” doesnt mean cutting corners and rejoining the track gaining an advantage”

            And where exactly did he gain an advantage? If anything, the gap he had melted away and there was a chance he was to lose his position, regardless of whether the gap was real or not. This is not gaining an advantage. This is almost losing your position. The track advantage you claim actually applies when a driver cuts through the track and gains a position.

      2. @stefmeister

        Vettel did not rejoin unsafely, as has been said by pretty much every expert. When Vettel rejoined the track, Hamilton was still fully behind him, as can bee seen at about the mid-point of this video:
        https://www.instagram.com/p/BygJs-yASes/

        You can clearly see Vettel is fully back on track on the left side when Hamilton decides to go for the gap on the right while being fully behind. So Vettel did not force Hamilton against the wall by rejoining. It would have the same effect if Vettel never left the track but isntead slowed down a bit while fully ahead of Hamilton – pretty much what Hamilton kept doing REPEATEDLY to Rosberg during the 2016 season finale.

        1. @bobec
          Pretty much every expert so scared to inflame the hot-headed ferrari tifosi.
          Take a look at Rosberg’s instagram profile to have an idea of what i’m talking about.
          Plus, past so called champions and experts have the tendency to diminish Hamilton’s achievements, so it’s not at all surprising they parted for the poor german boy, lol.
          Vettel’s manoeuvre WAS dangerous and probably voluntary. The sooner you’ll realize it, the better.

          1. @liko41 You say Vettel’s manoeuvre was dangerous, but you don’t explain why. You only try to discredit the people who have said it was not dangerous. The video clearly shows there was nothing too dangerous given the circumstances, and any danger that may have arisen is from Hamilton initially deciding to try and go for a closing gap. I don’t buy emotional arguments like the claim the tifosi are some mafia that scare everyone into submission…..yet they are going on their 12th year without a title, lol.

            Also I don’t see why I have to realize anything, and soon at that. The matter has been closed, I am in no way involved in the decision making, and I am not even a Ferrari fan. But I am a racing fan and I also believe facts should be looked into.

    2. Agree. Hamilton shouldn’t be getting a penalty, a reprimand at worst.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    21st June 2019, 16:17

    So this is a pretty guaranteed Mercedes win – possibly leaning more to Bottas this time than Hamilton? Good for the championship… I guess…

    Never really been a fan of McLaren but admittedly Norris is looking pretty good. All the rookies that came up this year, Russell, Albon and him all look pretty decent. Though admittedly Russell’s probably looking at the two guys he beat last year and hating his car a little. I’d say Norris, Albon & Kvyat are among the drivers I’m most impressed with so far this season.

  6. Surely a slam-dunk penalty following the decision in Canada? Unsafely joining the track is unsafely joint the track whoever does it.

    1. It was FP1.
      Probably will be a reprimand and/or some penalty points.

      1. Yeah… that’s what we want to see, nothing else.

    2. @petebaldwin How is this “unsafe”? Hamilton was nowhere near the racing line. Verstappen just lost concentration just like he did in Monaco just before he put it in the wall last year.

  7. Mercedes,
    please make sure your two cars are in perfect condition tomorrow and the race :)
    So unusual and uncomfortable to read about some misfires!

  8. Guess what, another myth is gone: HAM knowing the rules. Or… he’s a cheater. In Mexico I’m sure he cut the chicane on purpose, otherwise most likely he would have lost P1 if braked on time. But he found a gimmick to keep his place…

    1. @mg1982 Hamilton rejoined well off the race line.

      Verstappen did it, which cause Vettel to explode in rage of red mist. Then he blocked Ricciardo and which lead to Vettel getting the penalty for violating the “Verstappen bad defending” rule which especially Vettel had been clamoring for. So in the end he still messed up and Ricciardo got the final podium.

      Face it, your idol just doesn’t have the mental fortitude to deal with anything besides running a fast lap on an empty track.

  9. The longer this season goes the sadder I feel that Kubica’s return actually happened. Mighty good story, no doubt, but he isn’t the same driver he used to be. Williams should probably start thinking to replace him mid-season and offer that season for a young driver like Ocon or Latifi.

    1. *offer that seat
      We really could have use for an edit button…

    2. Disagree! He’s not that far off, getting better all the time and has much more to gain back than Rus who not only won F2 but has been driving single seaters for most of the time Rob was out.

      Maybe Rus and Lat are at the very best of their game, and maybe Rob is still finding his way back.

      He fully deserves an entire season to prove himself.

  10. That lap from Danny Ric on the Hard is looking pretty decent.

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