Mercedes set the pace in practice for Portuguese GP

Sports Desk, Apr 30 (EFE).- Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas had the fastest lap in Friday’s first practice for the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix and teammate Lewis Hamilton prevailed in Free Practice 2.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the main impediment to Hamilton’s bid for a record-breaking eighth driver’s championship, finished second in both sessions.

And after a season to forget in 2020, Ferrari had a good day at Portimao. Monaco’s Charles Leclerc was fourth in FP1 and Spaniard Carlos Sainz took the No. 4 spot in FP2.

Hamilton was the best in FP2 with a lap of 1:19.837, a touch slower than Bottas in the first session, but 0.143 quicker than Verstappen, who trails the Briton by a point in the driver standings after two rounds.

While Sir Lewis lifted the trophy in Bahrain, where the Dutchman finished second, Verstappen was triumphant over Hamilton in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s one-point edge is the result of his setting the fastest lap in Imola two weeks ago.

Finland’s Bottas had to settle for third in FP2.

Behind Sainz, the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon (France) and Fernando Alonso (Spain), took the fifth and sixth places, improving from 10th and 14th, respectively in FP1.

The Scuderia’s Leclerc dropped to seventh in the second session, followed by Australian veteran Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Canada’s Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Verstappen’s Mexican teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez, who was third in FP1.

Hamilton, who will be going for his 100th pole in qualifying on Saturday, said he expected a tough battle with Verstappen.

“I think it’s going to be a close-run (thing),” the reigning F! champion said. “I think it looks like we’re close. I don’t know how Max’s lap was (in FP2) but mine wasn’t perfect, so we’ve definitely got some time to come from the car and some improvements to make. I’m sure they have too, but it was close, as it has been the last couple of races, so it’s exciting.” EFE


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