Charles Leclerc tops Austrian GP FP2 as Valtteri Bottas crashes heavily
Charles Leclerc set the quickest time during an eventful and disrupted second practice session in Austria, as Valtteri Bottas crashed heavily and Max Verstappen also hit the wall.
Leclerc posted a time of 1:05.086, slower than the pace-setting times from the first practice session, to finish 0.331s up on Bottas, as a trio of incidents involving Formula 1’s front-runners dominated the attention.
Verstappen spun through Turn 10 – where there was a strong crosswind – and suffered a rear-end impact with the barriers, causing proceedings to be suspended.
Almost as soon as the session restarted it was red-flagged again, this time for a hefty incident involving title contender Bottas.
Bottas lost control of his Mercedes W10 through the medium-speed left-hander at Turn 5 but the car gripped up and he was spat across the gravel, before suffering a heavy front-end impact with the barriers.
Bottas was uninjured in the accident but took a precautionary trip to the medical centre after in-car data registered a 25G impact.
He did not take any further part in the session.
Shortly after the green flag came out Sebastian Vettel suffered a similar off to Verstappen’s, though his sliding Ferrari came to a halt on the far reaches of the gravel trap, just short of the barriers.
Vettel’s off meant he finished down in eighth spot, narrowly ahead of Verstappen, and 0.785s behind team-mate Leclerc.
Pierre Gasly was left to fly the flag for Red Bull and finished a competitive third, as he seeks to arrest a run of subdued results, while World Champion Lewis Hamilton was a quiet fourth.
Several of the front-runners had their laps either compromised or interrupted by the spate of red and yellow flags mid-session.
Carlos Sainz Jr., who will start Sunday’s race from the back row of the grid due to a power unit change, was fifth, in front of Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 for McLaren, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon all lapping within a second of Leclerc in a closely-contested session.
Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and the Renault pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, who were at the tail end of a competitive midfield. Ricciardo was 17th but just 1.3s behind Ferrari driver Leclerc.
A gap of four-tenths followed to Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, with lead Williams driver George Russell another four-tenths down on his ex-F3 rival.
Robert Kubica was rooted to the rear of the 20-car grid, his best time 1.3s down on Williams team-mate Russell.
Saturday’s third practice session will begin at 12:00 local time
Austria - Practice 2
|3||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:05.487||0.401||33|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:05.728||0.642||37|
|9||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:05.879||0.793||13|
|12||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:05.964||0.878||43|
|13||Alexander Albon||Red Bull||1:06.064||0.978||46|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:06.119||1.033||37|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:06.148||1.062||38|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:06.829||1.743||40|