Verstappen takes top spot in FP2
Max Verstappen topped the timings in FP2. (Photo Credit: Mark Thompson, Getty images)

Verstappen takes top spot in FP2

In the second session of Friday's action, Max Verstappen came out on top as both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel finished outside the top three.

charlie-fox
Charlie Fox

In the second running of the day, Red bull's Max Verstappen managed to finish first, despite not being overly happy with the car in the session.

The Dutchman placed ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, finishing second and third respectively.

However, the surprise package of the session was from Racing Point's Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, who finished seventh and ninth, showing a drastic improvement following a rather disappointing Singapore GP.

Another impressive performance in FP2 was from Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly who finished sixth, as the best driver outside the dominant three teams.

Track extending a trend throughout

The run-off areas saw a lot of use during FP2. Turn 13 was the prime area for missing the breaking zone, given the fast left hander flowing down into the sharp right hander.

The difficulty of straight-line braking seemed to impact all drivers, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggling in the middle to last sector. The complex of corners from Turn 13 to 15 seemed a constant challenge for drivers throughout.

The exit road at Turn one was also heavily used. The run off area at Turn one has, since last year, seen a significant change with the addition of a more 'maze like' return to the track.

This is opposed to the 'around the bollard' approach from last year which caught out a few drivers with  Charles Leclerc one of the victims of the new method.

Close-call for Toro Rosso

Throughout the session there were several close-calls, with drivers eager to have the track to themselves to gain valuable data ahead of Saturday's qualifying session and the race on Sunday.

The first mishap involved Toro Rosso teammates Gasly and Daniil Kvyat, where a lack of communication between the two of them almost resulted in their FP2 session being a write off.

On the team radio shortly after, Frenchman Gasly owned up to the mistake and redeemed himself to end the session in sixth position.

The second incident was between Hamilton and Alexander Albon. Hamilton, on a fast lap came close to colliding with the back of the Thai driver and if he hadn't of seen him it could have been a catastrophic accident. 

Albon off the pace 

Verstappen managed to put the Red Bull at the top of the timings in FP2 with a sterling lap of 1.33.162 . However, Albon seemed to struggle this session, only managing to put the car in tenth position after being towards the back of the grid for a large portion of time.

Following some mediocre performances in the last few races, a poor showing this weekend could pile some more pressure onto the Brit born Thai driver who is most certainly in the battle for the Red Bull seat come the 2020 season.

FP2 final standings:

  1. Max Verstappen - 1.33.162
  2. Charles Leclerc +0.335s
  3. Valtteri Bottas +0.646s
  4. Lewis Hamilton +0.798s
  5. Sebastian Vettel +1.039s
  6. Pierre Gasly +1.809s
  7. Sergio Perez +1.836s
  8. Nico Hulkenberg +1.864s
  9. Lance Stroll +2.014s
  10. Alexander Albon +2.054s
  11. Lando Norris +2.061s
  12. Daniil Kvyat +2.175s
  13. Kevin Magnussen +2.189s
  14. Daniel Ricciardo +2.208s
  15. Kimi Raikkonen +2.212s
  16. Romain Grosjean +2.431s
  17. Carlos Sainz +2.473s
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi +2.842s
  19. George Russell +3.623s
  20. Robert Kubica +4.676s

 

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