F1 Qatar GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 and FP2
By: Jake Boxall-Legge, James Newbold
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1. Bottas, Mercedes
2. Gasly, AlphaTauri
3. Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Hamilton, Mercedes
5. Norris, McLaren
6. Stroll, Aston Martin
7. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
8. Perez, Red Bull
9. Vettel, Aston Martin
10. Sainz, Ferrari
09:11 That'll be all from us today. Make sure you join us tomorrow for FP3 and the all-important qualifying session as the intensity of the title fight promises to reach new heights amid the latest war of words between Red Bull and Mercedes. We'll see you then!
09:10 Here's the full report from FP2, in case you missed any of the action, as Valtteri Bottas took top spot with a new circuit record: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-qatar-gp-bottas-tops-fp2-from-gasly-and-verstappen/6798869/
09:08 So what did we make of the first day of on-track action at Qatar? First impressions are that the track is fast and flowing, but might be tricky for cars to pass on.
09:06 Raikkonen and Giovinazzi have 16th-place man Russell in an Alfa Romeo sandwich, with Latifi in the second Williams beating Schumacher's lone Haas to P18.
09:05 Alpine drivers Ocon and Alonso are 11th and 12th quickest, with Leclerc 13th ahead of Ricciardo in the second McLaren.
09:04 Stroll made it five different cars in the top six for Aston Martin ahead of Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri in seventh, with Perez eighth, Vettel ninth and Sainz rounding out the top 10 for Ferrari.
09:03 FP1 pace-setter Verstappen set the third-quickest time, just ahead of arch-rival Hamilton in fourth as Norris completed the top five for McLaren.
09:02 In an eventful session for Leclerc, we've just been informed that he's been handed a €200 fine for pitlane speeding.
09:00 And with that, FP2 has reached its conclusion - with Bottas on top for Mercedes and Gasly completing a strong day with second once again.
09:00 The track limits deletions are ramping up at Turn 7, as Leclerc joins Alonso from just a few minutes ago in having a time scrubbed.
08:59 "There has to be one half of the circuit completely empty, no? Because I have cars again, in front." Alonso isn't impressed by the traffic situation as the session winds down.
08:57 That will be an unwelcome bit of work for the Ferrari mechanics tonight, as they'll have to clear out all the ancillaries of the small stones he picked up on his travels.
08:55 Leclerc has had a strange moment exiting Turn 10 and run through the gravel running parallel to the track after dipping his right-front wheel onto the grass. Looked fairly innocuous, but it just pulled him in and he was powerless to prevent it.
08:54 One of the best underrated things about night racing, in my view, is the steering wheel cams that show us the drivers' eyes through their clear visors. Lazer-focused attention from Hamilton there.
08:52 Will we see any further improvements in the final 10 minutes? It doesn't appear likely at this stage, although several teams are currently using the soft rubber - including Red Bull, which sends Verstappen out after a spell in the garage.
08:49 Bottas looks content with his evening's work as he's currently running around on the medium tyre - he has improved on the time he had struck off earlier for track limits with a 1m23.148s.
08:48 Could there be trouble ahead for Gasly? He's asked to make a switch on his steering wheel by his engineer, who says with urgency in his voice: "We see something we don't like".
08:46 "The wind has rotated, it's a headwind out of Turn 2," Bottas is informed over his radio.
08:45 Gasly's pace in going second-fastest in FP1 and currently holding that position points to a really strong weekend for AlphaTauri in its continued push to snatch fifth in the constructors' points from Alpine. Gasly currently has the fastest final sector of anybody so far, Bottas quickest in the first two.