Verstappen bests Mercedes duo in practice for French GP
Sports Desk, Jun 18 (EFE).- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) posted the best time in Friday’s second practice for the Grand Prix of France, ahead of the Mercedes team of Valtteri Bottas and seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman made it around the course at Circuit Paul Ricard in 1:32.872, just 0.008 faster than Finland’s Bottas, who had a margin of 0.253 over his British teammate.
Bottas took the top spot in Free Practice 1, followed by Hamilton and Verstappen.
Fourth place in FP2 was claimed by Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine), making his return to F1 after a stint in endurance and Indy-car racing.
Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) was fifth, edging out Alonso’s French teammate, Esteban Ocon, and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) of France.
Rounding out the top 10 were the other Ferrari driver, Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Finnish veteran Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and Briton Lando Norris (McLaren).
Verstappen, who leads the driver standings with 105 points – just four more than Hamilton – had a rocky start to FP2, hitting the curb on Turn 2, but soon found his rhythm after resuming with a new front wing.
Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez (Red Bull) of Mexico, who took the checkered flag on June 6 in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, finished 12th in FP2.
Drivers will have a third practice session a few hours before Saturday’s qualifying. EFE