Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Mercedes stay on top after Giovinazzi crash disrupts second practice

2021 Russian Grand Prix second practice

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Valtteri Bottas led another Mercedes one-two in the second practice session for the Russian Grand Prix.

He was separated from team mate Lewis Hamilton by four-hundredths of a second after the second hour of running.

However the session was disrupted by a brief red flag caused when Antonio Giovinazzi spun backwards into a barrier at turn eight. He suffered substantial rear-end damage to his Alfa Romeo, but was able to continue before he was told to stop on track. The session was neutralised while the marshals reaplced the wrecked TecPro barrier, which left its polystyrene and foam innards spilled across the track.

Bottas led Hamilton for the whole session, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen initially looking competitive but both fading to the lower half of the top ten over the course of second practice.

Hamilton had an uncharacteristically messy incident in his pit box, knocking over his front jack operator. He said on the radio that he had accidentally engaged the ‘brake magic’ mode which effectively disables rear braking in order to add heat to the front. This was much the same error he had made during the race restart at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Mercedes confirmed to Hamilton that the mechanic involved had given a thumbs-up gesture to show he was okay.

Pierre Gasly had a strange incident as the chequered flag fell, when he ran over the sausage kerb at turn two and shattered the front wing of his AlphaTauri, disappearing under the car. He was able to head back to the pits slowly but with a clear demonstration of the risk of running wide.

Despite the incident, Gasly was able to set the third-fastest time, within three tenths of Bottas. Lando Norris, who had had a slightly scrappy morning session, was fourth fastest while Gasly and his team mates, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, were left 17th and 18th.

Both Alpine and both Ferrari cars placed within the top ten times, Sergio Perez only managing 11th for Red Bull.

2021 Russian Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’33.59319
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.6370.04422
310Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’33.8450.25222
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.1540.56117
531Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’34.4020.80923
633Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’34.6211.02820
755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’34.6781.08522
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’34.7621.16921
95Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’34.8371.24422
1016Charles LeclercFerrari1’34.9251.33224
1111Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’34.9381.34522
127Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.0521.45923
1363George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’35.0941.50119
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.1781.58514
1518Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’35.3341.74121
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’35.4111.81819
173Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’35.6302.03712
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’35.9542.36123
199Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’36.0992.50619
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’36.2302.63720

Second practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.593

+0.044 Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.637

+0.252 Pierre Gasly – 1’33.845

+0.561 Lando Norris – 1’34.154

+0.809 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.402

+1.028 Max Verstappen – 1’34.621

+1.085 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.678

+1.169 Fernando Alonso – 1’34.762

+1.244 Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.837

+1.332 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.925

+1.345 Sergio Perez – 1’34.938

+1.459 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.052

+1.501 George Russell – 1’35.094

+1.585 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’35.178

+1.741 Lance Stroll – 1’35.334

+1.818 Nicholas Latifi – 1’35.411

+2.037 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.630

+2.361 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’35.954

+2.506 Nikita Mazepin – 1’36.099

+2.637 Mick Schumacher – 1’36.230

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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11 comments on “Mercedes stay on top after Giovinazzi crash disrupts second practice”

  1. These results could be the grid order save for VER and LEC penalties depending on how the weather evolves.

  2. I get the feeling this race is going to be a total snooze.

    1. Yep. Another lesson in dominance from Mercedes. You have to give that team credit to keep developing the quickest car year after year. Just to keep motivation in the team must be difficult on its own.

    2. Don’t forget about the rain forcast.

      1. Also it’s colder than usual this weekend.

    3. It’s probably the best chance for a mercedes 1-2 this year, red bull should’ve had one already in baku, mclaren incredibly ended up being the first and so far only team with it so far, ferrari had maybe an outside chance at monaco, which is interesting to see.

  3. I was speaking to one of my non-F1 fan friends today, and even he’s started to watch the races as he’s gripped by the championship battle, relishes the carnage when they go wheel-to-wheel, and for the first time ever he is checking the TV schedule to see when the next race is. He’s never watched qualifying before but is even watching that now (but he was confused when the qualifying format was different for Monza)

    Just goes to show that closer battles (especially for the title) are what really inspire folk to tune in and engage with the sport. Hopefully the new regulations will allow more close racing, and there’ll be less need to chop and change the rules for some races to artificially boost figures.

    I agree about a Mercedes 1-2, this is their best chance this season, and the Championship pendulum could swing Max’s way after this weekend. The fact that the only team to get a 1-2 finish so far is McLaren, shows how a great this season is.

  4. Embarrassing how Lewis kept on driving after almost killing his pitcrew”
    /Freethoselittlebirds mode

  5. Someone needs a steering wheel redesign…

  6. The main interest part of the Grand Prix will be, just when will Bottas move over to let his team leader pass him?

  7. Pierre. Gasly.

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