Formula 1 championship leader Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheet in FP2 ahead of the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix, edging Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel while his team-mate Charles Leclerc lost track time.
As one of the first drivers to post a qualifying simulation run, Vettel claimed the provisional top spot on the timesheet with a 1m33.357s benchmark.
However, Bottas quickly eclipsed Vettel’s lap by a slender 0.027s. The Mercedes driver held first for the rest of the session.
Top spot candidates Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc both suffered compromised sessions.
Hamilton failed to post a representative qualifying simulation run, aborting his first lap he suspected he had run over debris as a result of a front wing failure for Romain Grosjean ahead. Hamilton ended up 0.7s adrift in fourth.
Both Hamilton and pacesetter Bottas suffered innocuous cold tyre spins in the first sector during outlaps at the start of the session.
Leclerc’s session was limited to just 13 laps, as he missed the second half of the 90-minute FP2 when Ferrari was forced to carry out cooling system checks.
While his car was running during the qualifying simulations, Leclerc only managed a 1m34.158s lap for seventh on the timesheet after facing traffic on his first lap and making a mistake on his second timed effort.
Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, ending up just 0.221s behind Bottas. The Red Bull driver suggested that it felt as though “the car was broken” on his in-lap at the end of the session, theorising a potential clutch or differential problem.
Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Renault, once again eclipsing the pace of new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who was ninth.
Both McLaren’s finished the day in the top 10, with Carlos Sainz Jr an impressive sixth and Lando Norris in eighth.
Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 for Red Bull, as he finished FP2 nearly 0.9s adrift of team-mate Verstappen’s benchmark.