George Russell remained at the top of the Formula 1 timesheets in his first day of action for Mercedes by doubling up in second practice for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

After being named as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for the race weekend following the seven-time world champion’s positive test for COVID-19, Russell continued to make an impression in Mercedes’ W11 as he once again set the pace on Friday.

Russell’s best lap time of a 0:54.713 around Bahrain’s outer loop layout - the shortest track on the 2020 F1 calendar - was slower than his pace-setting effort in FP1 but saw him end the day 0.128s clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Valtteri Bottas endured an unusually scrappy Friday by damaging his Mercedes in opening practice, before finishing a lowly 11th in the FP2 timesheets.

The Finn had lapped faster than new teammate Russell but saw his best two Soft tyre laps deleted for track limits infringements, with two offs at Turn 8 among a number of wide moments throughout the day’s running.

Sergio Perez was a strong third for Racing Point and just 0.153s off the pace, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon an encouraging fourth, ahead of Alex Albon who completed the top five in his Red Bull.

Daniil Kvyat was once again the highest-placed AlphaTauri driver in sixth, ahead of Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and his teammate Pierre Gasly, while Carlos Sainz rounded out the top-10 for McLaren.

Behind Bottas came the Alfa Romeo duo, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Williams regular Nicholas Latifi, who took P15 ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who spun on two occasions as he struggled throughout FP2.

The four-time world champion’s best lap was ruined by a high-speed spin at Turn 5, in which Vettel nearly ended up wiping out Magnussen.

Lando Norris spent most of the session in the McLaren garage after damaging the floor of his MCL35 over the kerbs, with Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken both managing to up their pace in 18th and 19th for Haas and Williams respectively.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ended FP2 without a time to his name after suffering a driveshaft problem on his SF90 following a wide moment at Turn 8, leaving him sidelined in the garage having completed just two laps.




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