French GP: Verstappen on top, Bottas hits back in FP2

Max Verstappen topped the second practice session for the French Grand Prix, just eight-thousandths of a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

It’s the first time in four years when Mercedes has not topped a session at the Circuit Paul Ricard as Lewis Hamilton was nearly three-tenths further back.

Hamilton complained on the radio that there was “something not right with the car” after he’s swapped chassis with Bottas for this weekend.

Verstappen didn’t have it all his own way either, he lost some carbon on the kerbs after running wide and there was a radio spat post-race between Red Bull and Michael Masi.

The medium tyres look to be the favoured rubber for the race, with the soft tyres suffering quick degradation and not seeming to have a significant pace advantage over the mediums.

Alpine looked strong too with the pair running fourth and sixth led by Fernando Alonso, having also had two cars in the top seven in FP1.

However, there’s question marks as to how representative that pace is given it’s Alpine’s home race, with some speculating they might be running closer to their best than some of their competitors.

They were split by Charles Leclerc, whilst Pierre Gasly was seventh and one of the top mileage-munchers across the session. Carlos Sainz was eighth sitting a one-and-a-half tenths behind his teammates.

However, if the Alpines do drop back then the Ferraris could be on for a good points haul. Their midfield rivals McLaren were adrift of them, with Lando Norris tenth and Daniel Ricciardo ninth.

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was ninth and the team are looking capable of getting points again this weekend,  as Antonio Giovinazzi was just outside the top half in eleventh.

Aston Martin were the first cars to take the soft tyres, relatively early in this session, but could only manage 15th and 16th overall and look in danger of losing a car in Q1 tomorrow.