Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Bottas fastest again as Red Bull struggle in Sochi

2020 Russian Grand Prix second practice

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The Mercedes pair swept the top of the times in second practice for the Russian Grand Prix despite both drivers making errors on their quickest laps. Valtteri Bottas remained the quickest of the two W11s, more than a second faster than anyone who wasn’t his team mate.

The pace-setter eked out an advantage of more than two and a half tenths of a second over team mate Lewis Hamilton in their qualifying simulation laps on soft tyres. Hamilton had set his best time with a slightly messy lap including several errors.

Bottas looked set to easily beat that on his fast lap, pulling four-tenths clear of Hamilton across the first two sectors. However a mistake saw him run wide at the final turn, leaving him just 0.267 seconds ahead.

Daniel Ricciardo and the McLarens were best of the rest as Friday’s running came to an end. The Renault driver had been strong in both practice sessions, finishing Friday third-fastest and a tenth-and-a-half up on the MCL35s.

Esteban Ocon in the other Renault was ninth-fastest and half a second further off, though his team indicated on the radio there may be set-up related reasons for the gap.

Carlos Sainz Jnr and Nicholas Latifi were both back in action following their crashes during first practice. The pair led their respectice team mates, Latifi narrowly edging George Russell for only the second time in a session this year.

Red Bull had a tough session, however. Max Verstappen, previously the most consistent threat to Mercedes, was over one-and-a-half off the pace. His efforts weren’t helped by a spin at turn 14, which cost him a lap that might otherwise have been an improvement on seventh-fastest.

Drivers race through a lot of rear balance adjustments as the track surface heated up. Several of them also complained about vibrations around the circuit, probably due to an equal number of lockups – in particular around the final sector. With Formula 2 the only support series in Sochi this year, the track surface is improving slowly, and has developed some bumps since last year’s race.

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2020 Russian Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’33.51937
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.7860.26733
33Daniel RicciardoRenault1’34.5771.05827
455Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’34.7231.20436
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’34.8471.32833
611Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’34.8901.37135
733Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’35.0481.52930
816Charles LeclercFerrari1’35.0521.53335
931Esteban OconRenault1’35.1391.62028
105Sebastian VettelFerrari1’35.1831.66435
1110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’35.2101.69135
1223Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’35.2421.72331
1326Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’35.4611.94237
147Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.5161.99733
156Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’35.5632.04431
1663George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’35.5752.05630
1718Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.6272.10834
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.7292.21032
1999Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.0532.53436
208Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’36.8583.33932

Second practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.519

+0.267 Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.786

+1.058 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.577

+1.204 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.723

+1.328 Lando Norris – 1’34.847

+1.371 Sergio Perez – 1’34.890

+1.529 Max Verstappen – 1’35.048

+1.533 Charles Leclerc – 1’35.052

+1.620 Esteban Ocon – 1’35.139

+1.664 Sebastian Vettel – 1’35.183

+1.691 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.210

+1.723 Alexander Albon – 1’35.242

+1.942 Daniil Kvyat – 1’35.461

+1.997 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.516

+2.044 Nicholas Latifi – 1’35.563

+2.056 George Russell – 1’35.575

+2.108 Lance Stroll – 1’35.627

+2.210 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.729

+2.534 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’36.053

+3.339 Romain Grosjean – 1’36.858

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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    20 comments on “Bottas fastest again as Red Bull struggle in Sochi”

    1. What happened to McLaren between P1 and P2?

      They were nowhere earlier in the day.

      1. Fuel level?

      2. O1 they were running race simulations and Sainz crashed so no qualflier runs in FP1. It went much better in FP2 as they didn’t crash :) and did some qualflier runs.

      3. Hey Sonny, how’s Tubbs?

        1. Still doesn’t say much. But looking gooooood! 😜

    2. If Bottas does not win here, I do not know what chances he has left for this championship. Pole position here is probably a death trap because of the long run to turn 2. With equal starts, the driver starting P2 or P3 can still threaten the lead.

      1. @krichelle Do you otherwise believe Bottas has a chance at the championship?

      2. Hamilton won from second place on the grid in 2018 and 2019.

        1. @gardenfella72
          > Hamilton won from second place on the grid in 2018

          Yeah, he kind of did. Like Schumacher won Austria 2002.

      3. Wait a minute.. You say Bot Bottas has a chance? Did he ever had a chance?

      4. Losing the lead or not, what he does to win the race will be a sign as to whether he can make a sustained challenge to Lewis going forward.

      5. I agree with half of your comment: I would say if bottas doesn’t win here I don’t know what chances he has to win another race, he’s generally strong in russia.

    3. I like seeing Renaults (engines and cars) high up in the order, but it feels artificial. And when they are a second off the pace, what’s the point?

      I already hate this track. I expect to watch this race on fast forward, should take about 3min to watch.

    4. It’s happened, I’ve become desensitized to the gap between Mercedes and the rest. Not bashing or hating but my eyes were super focused on the gaps from Ricciardo downwards

      1. It would be a fantastic season without the Mercs :)

    5. Albon has to be chagrinned he is .2s from Verstappen but yet mired 5 places back.

    6. Letssss gooo Ricciardo

    7. with Renault engines now looking strong for Renault and Mclaren, i think next year might be a great battle between verstappen, Ricciardo and Alonso for podiums.

    8. Clearly, Stroll was the better choice.

    Comments are closed.