Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in the second practice session of the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in P3.
With the second session taking place under the lights at Losail, temperatures and therefore conditions were deemed more representative of qualifying and Sunday’s race, which will also take place in the evening. After drivers pushed track limits in FP1, the stewards clarified ahead of FP2 that track limits were to be set by the purple and white kerbs across the whole circuit.
More off-track drama was delivered before FP2 by the tense press conference involving Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, during which it was announced that Mercedes’ right of review over the Lap 48 incident in Brazil had been denied.
Back on track, where the Red Bulls and Mercedes began on medium tyres, and the opening exchanges saw Bottas set the benchmark of 1m23.324s, three-tenths ahead of team mate Hamilton. The Finn improved to 1m23.148s (shrugging off a previously deleted lap) when softs became the tyre of choice halfway through, those behind him wrestling with traffic and track limits.
Gasly slotted into second place, two-tenths off Bottas, for AlphaTauri, while Verstappen was just a tenth-and-a-half away in P3 for Red Bull. That put Hamilton down to P4, four-tenths off his leading team mate, before he ran very wide on a late long-run as the session ticked down.
FORMULA 1 OOREDOO QATAR GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 2 results
|3 MaxVERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing||+0.350s|