Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas take over in FP2

© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took the lead in Friday's second free practice session, the Mercedes duo just edging Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

Bottas enjoyed only a 0.069s advantage over his team mate while Leclerc was 0.197s behind the Finn.

Pierre Gasly clocked in P5, the Red Bull charger who was fastest in FP1 heading McLaren's Lando Norris and teammate Max Verstappen.

Bottas made his mark early on in the session, running on Pirelli's medium tyre, outpacing Hamilton on the same rubber, with reigning world champion suffering a brief off-track moment at high speed during his run.

A switch to the soft tyre initially allowed Hamilton to inch closer to his teammate but the latter succeeded in extracting more speed from his W10 to conclude the session at the top of the timesheet.

Ferrari improved its performance in the afternoon, with Leclerc lagging in the pecking order on the medium tyre but moving up to within 0.197s of Bottas on the softs.

Vettel also suffered a high-speed off early in the session, losing control at Becketts. The German's effort on the medium tyre a short while later could not get him within striking distance of Bottas while his run on the red-rimmed soft compound left him almost half a second adrift of the Finn.

Noriis enjoyed an impressive Friday afternoon session, splitting the Red Bulls and also leading the mid-field pack's performance on the medium tyre.

His McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz concluded his day P8 while Toro Rosso's Alex Albon and Racing Point's Sergio Perez rounded off the top-ten.

Both Renault drivers were noticeably absent from the first half of the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo complaining of "crazy understeer" before his car unexpectedly stopped at Maggotts during a race sim run following a suspected engine issue.

At the bottom of the pack, George Russell made up the rear, the Williams driver having to contend with a gearbox issue.

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