Charles Leclerc tops Austrian GP FP2 as Valtteri Bottas crashes heavily

Charles Leclerc in action for Ferrari F1 at the Austrian Grand Prix

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

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.086 37
2 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:05.417 0.331 12
3 Flag   Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:05.487 0.401 33
4 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:05.529 0.443 43
5 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:05.545 0.459 44
6 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1:05.701 0.615 38
7 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:05.728 0.642 37
8 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:05.871 0.785 34
9 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:05.879 0.793 13
10 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren 1:05.952 0.866 48
11 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:05.960 0.874 41
12 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:05.964 0.878 43
13 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull 1:06.064 0.978 46
14 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:06.119 1.033 37
15 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:06.148 1.062 38
16 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:06.249 1.163 27
17 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:06.418 1.332 30
18 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:06.829 1.743 40
19 Flag   George Russell Williams 1:07.217 2.131 27
20 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1:08.508 3.422 38