Yesterday’s practice session was quite interesting for once as the cars struggled with the low grip conditions, high winds and elevation changes. It was nice to see the pilots challenging there and there were many and various laps.
Thankfully, everyone managed to keep him out of the wall, although that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some drama. Late in the Friday afternoon session, Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll collided in a virtually preventable incident, bringing out the second red flag of the session. Verstappen blamed Stroll, who couldn’t continue. It looks like Verstappen assumed Stroll was on a recovery lap and would eventually come out outside the first corner.
Verstappen had just started a hot lap and remained fully engaged. Two in one is wrong, as they say. The stewards investigated the incident, but none of the drivers were sanctioned.
Because Friday’s race was so stop / start – there were 30 minutes at the start of FP2 where each rider was testing the 2021 Pirelli prototype tires – we didn’t get an exact reading of the running order and the gaps . We have a little more ideas now after the race this morning and, surprise, surprise, Mercedes is top.
Valtteri Bottas completed a practice triple, with Lewis Hamilton second, 0.026s behind him. Max Verstappen was third, just 0.132 seconds behind the Briton. It was a fairly compact field with just 1.4 seconds separating the third from the 17th.
I don’t think qualifying will be all that easy, so optimistic about a three-way pole fight for once.