One session apiece to Red Bull and Mercedes on Friday, with Verstappen pipping Bottas to the quickest afternoon time at Paul Ricard; Lewis Hamilton third quickest, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso a surprise fourth
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 18/06/21 3:12pm
Max Verstappen just moved back ahead of Valtteri Bottas to top Practice Two at the French Grand Prix, with Red Bull and Mercedes appearing closely matched on pace.
In an unusual session in which drivers struggled to make on the quickest soft tyre last for a full lap of the technical Paul Ricard circuit, Verstappen sneaked ahead of Bottas on his qualifying simulation by just 0.008s with a Friday-best lap of 1:32.872.
Bottas’ best lap was set on the slower medium compound, with the Finn lapping slower on what should have been his quickest lap.
On a strong opening day for the Finn, who endured a miserable weekend in Baku, he finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton in both sessions.
Fernando Alonso was within half a second of the pace on an encouraging opening day for France’s own Alpine team.
Fourth-fastest in the morning, Sergio Perez slipped all the way to 12th in the second session in the second Red Bull.
More to follow…