I would go with #1 on this one.
More gently, essentially, seems to me like something that turns into
"more gently", there is some transformation involved, with a new degree of "gentleness".
Whereas "more gentle' is something that already is, it´s a statement of a fact (gentle is already there, a natural trait).
EXAMPLES:There really is no reason to put up with vandalism that's for sure. I guess the only recommendation I would make then, is that perhaps the policy could be enforced a little more gently than blocking?
(it hints that they do the block, it could be enforced more gently then...) “Here, hold out your hand,” she said more gently than she had expected.
She expected something more gently than it turned out, that is, she had expected to say it with a more high degree of gentleness...but when the words came out it was different from what she thought.
Other than that, the sentence # 1 is also grammatically correct, since "more gentle" means "gentler" (comparative form of adjectives).http://www.eflnet.com/tutorials/adjcompsup.phpBig dogs are gentler than small dogs.
This example of theirs could be redone to " big dogs are more gentle than small dogs.
As you see it´s a statement that deals with something that is happening right now
, at the moment I speak. Plus - there´s no changing, expected or not, in the behaving of the dogs. It is a fact stated as it is, "dogs simply behave like this" (in the case - big dogs compared to the small ones.)