Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Verstappen leads Leclerc in second practice

2019 Russian Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc swapped places at the top of the times sheets in the second practice session at Sochi, with the Red Bull driver coming out on top.

Leclerc saw off his team mate and the two Mercedes drivers but had to settle for the second-fastest time, a third of a second slower than Verstappen.

The pair were very closely matched through the first two sectors of the Sochi Autodrom. But Verstappen’s car seemed able to keep its tyres in better shape for the final sector, where he found almost all of his three-tenths advantage over the Ferrari.

The Mercedes drivers struggled to get close to the pace of either. Lewis Hamilton expressed surprise at his inability to get close to Leclerc’s time when both were running on the medium compound, and was almost eight-tenths of a second slower on the soft tyres. Team mate Valtteri Bottas got slightly closer, but was still more than six tenths of a second away.

Sebastian Vettel’s first effort on softs did not go to plan and he only managed to set a time a second off Verstappen’s best. That was at least better than Alexander Albon was able to manage – the second Red Bull was over two seconds behind the first, in 10th place, with some floor damage.

Albon also had a near-miss with Hamilton, who almost ran into him at turn three. Earlier in the session Hamilton got in Carlos Sainz Jnr’s way, prompting an angry shake of the McLaren driver’s fist.

Sixth place therefore went to Pierre Gasly, whose place at Red Bull Albon took four races ago, then the Racing Point pair separated by Nico Hulkenberg, who was again the quicker of the two Renault drivers. Kevin Magnussen ended the session 13th but was told by his team to pit with a suspected problem.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’33.16229
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’33.4970.33533
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’33.8080.64622
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.9600.79832
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.2011.03932
610Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’34.9711.80926
711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’34.9981.83631
827Nico HulkenbergRenault1’35.0261.86433
918Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.1762.01431
1023Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’35.2162.05418
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’35.2232.06133
1226Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’35.3372.17538
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.3512.18926
143Daniel RicciardoRenault1’35.3702.20828
157Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.3742.21234
168Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.5932.43131
1755Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’35.6352.47329
1899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.0042.84229
1963George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’36.7853.62338
2088Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’37.8384.67636

Second practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’33.162

+0.335 Charles Leclerc – 1’33.497

+0.646 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.808

+0.798 Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.960

+1.039 Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.201

+1.809 Pierre Gasly – 1’34.971

+1.836 Sergio Perez – 1’34.998

+1.864 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.026

+2.014 Lance Stroll – 1’35.176

+2.054 Alexander Albon – 1’35.216

+2.061 Lando Norris – 1’35.223

+2.175 Daniil Kvyat – 1’35.337

+2.189 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.351

+2.208 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.370

+2.212 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.374

+2.431 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.593

+2.473 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’35.635

+2.842 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’36.004

+3.623 George Russell – 1’36.785

+4.676 Robert Kubica – 1’37.838

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 Russian 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 “Verstappen leads Leclerc in second practice”

  1. This could get interesting ….

    1. Indeed… Didn’t think this would be the track to separate performance.

    2. To all those people who could not wait to see Kubica back in F1……over 4.5 seconds difference to the fastest and even worse, 1 second a lap slower than GR….have your dreams be shattered yet?

      When will Claire resign? what a shameful season for a once glorious team….

      1. Rita Mary Murphy
        28th September 2019, 1:39

        Russell is very talented – Claire should be congratulated on putting a good mix of experienced and fast drivers in there dog of a car.

  2. Predicting Ferrari 1/2 for race win, I wonder if Mercedes will win another race this year…

    1. It’s hard to say from this day but I think Max and Lewis will fight for the race win this weekend. Leclerc may take pole position but it also seems a little possibility.

    2. Good question. MB is still very competitive in the races though. It really appears to be Leclerc adding a little edge to get ahead of Hamilton and force MB to throw the kitchen sink at getting around him on track, resulting in things like running tires to the cords in Monza and greedy, off strategic moves like in Singapore. Leclerc has been absolutely stunning in the past few races as a driver. I also foresee another duel between Leclerc and Hamilton with Hamilton unable to get by or hold a lead due to Ferrari engine power.

  3. Twilight of Mercedes hybrid PU domination has definitely faded, actually their 1st half season domination was overhyped, it was actually Ferrari give away the trophy to Mercedes by looking how they dominated the pre-season tests. Next year Mercedes PU performance will be dropping to 3rd or 4th.

    1. Agree fully. Mercedes has to find out the Ferrari ‘PU secret’ soon or its going to be very tough for them next season.

    2. For last 2 seasons Mercedes consitently didnt have the best PU on grid. They were 2nd or 3rd best. It was all about working well as a team and consistently developing the upgrade package that works.

      1. If anyone asks how important it is for a team to have a solid driver in their seat, point to Lewis, Max and Leclerc, especially Lewis. He (Lewis) has been the difference btw Ferrari and Mercedes championship campaigns in the last 3 years. Leclerc is also showing us that if Kimi had stayed at Ferrari this year, Lewis would probably have won the last 3 races, easy.

        Imagine Valtteri being the lead driver for Mercedes for the last 3 years (cos you know, anyone can win in a sliver arrow), Seb would be a 7 time world champion. Drivers are probably the most important part of the car when all things are equal

      2. Mercedes 3rd best engine for the last 2 seasons? If let’s say Ferrari PU was 1st, who was then 2nd?

        1. @gechichan has to be either Honda or Renault. Can’t say which possibility is funnier, to be honest

    3. You probably don’t watch F1 regularly, otherwise you’d know that the tyres were Ferrari’s weak spot, and not the PU. Still, 3 consecutive wins doesn’t change the fact that Mercedes seems, so far, a better car overall.

      1. Totally agree!

      2. Roses are red, violet are blue, Mercedes best car, Ferrari wins :-)

  4. Wow that Mercedes is so dominant…..Its amazing just a few races ago some people were wondering whether Mercedes would win every race this season. I will be amazed now if Mercedes will be able to win another race this season under normal circumstances. Reality is Mercedes was never dominant since the beginning of 2017.

    1. The well oiled machine that is the Mercedes team flattered their car since 2017. Albeit Ferrari team underperforming with their package was a factor in the perception as well. I would go as far as to say Lewis detractors, giving more than enough credit of his performances to the car, also aided in this perception.

      1. Don’t you know, it’s always the car when Lewis wins and it’s the driver when everyone else does, that makes the difference? /s

        1. Lol, mercedes is still the best race car, just their drivers not good passing others on circuit without clear 1sec perlap advantage.

    2. @amg44
      I would still rate this season’s Mercedes car on par with the best Red Bull cars from 2010-2013. Just because they have lost their ridiculous advantage from 2014-2016 doesn’t change the fact that they still have the best car.

    3. The title is already wrapped up, the season is over, they are letting the others win a bit for the show. Otherwise no one would watch F1 anymore.

      1. Agreed, mercedes is the best car of the 2019 season, you can say it’s not the best right now but still competitive and it brought the fastest race pace the last 3 races.

  5. Let’s not get all hyped again over Friday practice. As Singapore showed last week, where Ferrari were nowhere in FP1 and FP2, Saturday is all that matters. Also, the weather might be a big factor for qualy and race.

  6. Interesting comments about Mercedes’s domination being over. Apparently Mercedes was not overperforming, but Ferrari and Red Bull were underperforming due to problems at the front end of the car.
    After Red Bull’s update at Austria they have been very competitive and now Ferrari had an updated nose they seem to have found the much needed downforce. The rest of the season could get very interesting and next year we could even see a 3-team title fight!

    1. That’s what many of us are looking forward to for a while.

  7. Kimi’s abysmal showing last weekend looks to be corrected somewhat here, even if Q3 looks to be out of bounds so far….
    Fingers crossed for a Max V result!

  8. Any news on long run pace or speed trap data?

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