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Mercedes 1-2 as Hulkenberg brings out the red flags – FP2 Report

Brazilian Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes 1-2 in FP2 at Interlagos, in a session interrupted by a red flag due to Nico Hulkenberg crashing heavily in his Renault.

FP2 was a very close affair on the timesheets: Valtteri Bottas’ best time on the SuperSofts was a 1:08.846, just 0.003 clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes. Hamilton’s best lap did see him make a small error under braking in the second sector, suggesting that the newly crowned Champion does have some more pace to find.

However, the German team didn’t have things all their own way, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was nipping closely at their heels. Vettel’s time of 1:08.919 was just 0.073 off Bottas’ time and shows that the 2017 Brazilian GP winner will be a force to be reckoned with in qualifying.

FP1’s quickest man, Max Verstappen, had a much more disjointed second session. The Red Bull driver was forced to sit out the opening half of FP2 due to an oil leak. He ended up P5 by the chequered flag, just behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who has been confirmed as being hit by a grid penalty for Sunday’s race due to needing new power unit elements.

P6 was the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, just ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean. Charles Leclerc was P8 for Sauber, ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten in his Force India.

FP2 saw Nico Hulkenberg bring out the red flags after just ten minutes. The Renault driver ran slightly too wide on the kerbing exiting the Juncao corner, getting dragged across the grass before slamming into the barriers. With the right hand side of his car destroyed, he radioed in to say that he was fine before clambering out of the car.

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Thomas Maher

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