2019 Austrian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen set the pace in Free Practice 2 for the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, heading a session that saw a red flag early on after Daniel Ricciardo had a big impact with the barriers at Turn 9.
Having had two decent efforts deleted for track limit infringements, Red Bull’s Verstappen eventually posted a lap of 1m 03.660s – around seven-tenths shy of last week’s pole lap at the same track – and 0.043s up on the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Behind Verstappen and Bottas, the Racing Points confirmed their pace at the sharp end of the field, FP1 leader Sergio Perez 0.217s behind Verstappen in third, three-tenths up on team mate Lance Stroll in fourth.
Carlos Sainz was the fastest McLaren in P5, ahead of the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in P6, with the six-time champion looking less comfortable than his team mate around the 2.7-mile track, as he ended up nearly seventh-tenths adrift of Bottas. Alex Albon recovered from a spin at Turn 3 to go P7, and complained about a snappy Red Bull RB16 – which then led to another spin into the gravel going though the Turn 7-8 chicane with 15 minutes of the session to go.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GROSSER PREIS DER STEIERMARK 2020
Practice 2 results
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:03.660|
|2 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||+0.043s|
|3 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point||+0.217s|
|4 Lance STROLL Racing Point||+0.581s|
|5 Carlos SAINZ McLaren||+0.673s|
Lando Norris put the second McLaren P8, but will be compromised on Sunday after he was handed a three-place grid penalty for a yellow flag infraction during FP1 – while the updates to Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari SF1000 couldn’t get him within a second of Verstappen’s session-heading time, as he took P9.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 – but his team mate Daniel Ricciardo missed the majority of the session, after losing the rear end of his R.S.20 on the exit of Turn 9 and barrelling into the wall on the outside of the track.
Ricciardo was able to limp out of the car, before being cleared by the doctors after a visit to the medical centre. His car was looking less happy, though, with visible damage to the front and rear wings – and what looks to be a long evening ahead for the Renault mechanics.
With bad weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday morning, there is a chance that if no running is possible then, the FP2 times could set the grid for the race, something that was all-too obvious to Pierre Gasly, after he was sent out to provide a tow to his AlphaTauri team mate Daniil Kvyat. “I’m not giving a ****ing tow to Dany,” Gasly yelled, before adding: “If this is quali, we didn’t maximise it.”
Lower down the grid, Williams’ George Russell was P15 in his first session of the weekend – having given up his FW43 to Jack Aitken this morning – ahead of the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who had a faster lap deleted, while the two Haas cars continued to struggle for pace, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean ending up P18 and P19.
The next on track running will be FP3 on Saturday, followed by qualifying. Can Bottas make it two poles in a row? Or can Verstappen challenge for top spot on the grid? Follow all the action live on F1.com tomorrow to find out…