Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas emerged quickest in Friday Practice as F1 finally hit Losail International Circuit for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix weekend.
Bottas finished third-fastest in an unrepresentative FP1 session behind Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, yet capitalised on cooler temperatures in FP2 to set the quickest time across both practice sessions.
Gasly emerged second quickest overall in FP2 ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, with the Dutchman receiving confirmation in the gap between sessions that he wouldn’t face an investigation into his move on Hamilton during last weekend’s Sao Paulo GP.
Now here is a full roundup of FP1 and FP2 at 2021 Qatar GP as teams got to grips with a new circuit.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first driver to hit the Losail Circuit as the session went green but was quickly placed by several drivers, including Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc and Verstappen who went quickest with 1m 26.829 on the hard tyre.
Ricciardo soon displaced Verstappen with 1m 26.727 but Pierre Gasly quickly bettered the Aussie’s lap time, before Verstappen moved top, where he proceeded to find time as the track continued to rubber in as he concluded the opening 30 minutes on top with 1m 24.855 ahead of Lando Norris.
Soft tyre qualifying simulations soon followed despite Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll missing out with a hydraulic issue, as Verstappen eventually topped the session with 1m 23.723 ahead of Gasly, Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz who all finished within a second of Verstappen’s time.
Several drivers however pushed track limits to their absolute limits with stewards not strictly imposing rules during this session, by virtue of this being F1’s first session at Losail which meant that several drivers suffered various pieces of damage to their cars after going too aggressively off-track.
Haas’ Mick Schumacher though was the biggest casualty after he ran wide in the closing minutes at Turn Seven, across the gravel but he was able to safely re-join despite dumping gravel across the run-off area as he returned to the track.
Hamilton meanwhile reported that he was “massively down on power” during his opening run but was able to recover to finish fourth and 0.786s off Verstappen’s fastest lap.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 23.723|
|2||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.437|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.471|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.786|
|5||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.925|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.990|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.067|
|8||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.192|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.249|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.492|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.568|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.605|
|13||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.965|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.034|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.105|
|16||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.148|
|17||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 2.182|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.976|
|19||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.989|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 3.777|
Pre-session, it was announced that stewards had denied Mercedes a right to review over their decision to not penalise Verstappen in last weekend’s Sao Paulo GP, having deemed the new evidence as ‘not significant’ in terms of Article 47.1 of F1 sporting regulations.
Haas meanwhile announced that Nikita Mazepin would not run in FP2 after he needed a chassis change following damage sustained in FP1.
Raikkonen again was the first driver to hit the track at start of session but it was Tsunoda who set the initial upon completion of the first flying laps.
Verstappen however found time on his second flier as he posted 1m 23.743 to go quickest but was bumped down to third by Hamilton then Bottas, as the Finnish pace set the pace on 1m 23.324 upon conclusion of the opening runs.
Bottas eventually emerged fastest after topping the session on his soft tyre run with a 1m 23.148 as Gasly finished a surprise second quickest ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, as the top 14 drivers all finished within 0.987 seconds of Bottas’ time.
Verstappen though needed two runs on the soft tyre to finish third quickest whilst his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez was eighth quickest despite a rear wing issue limiting his race simulation run.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 23.148|
|2||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.209|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.350|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.422|
|5||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.484|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.557|
|7||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.587|
|8||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.639|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.872|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.885|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.893|
|12||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.908|
|13||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.947|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.987|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.483|
|16||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.806|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.924|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.061|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.427|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||No Time Set|