Spanish GP: Mercedes drivers stay on top in FP2

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas continued to set the pace on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Just as he had in the morning session, Hamilton finished the second practice on 1:20.802s putting him narrowly ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas.

With the move to soft tyres, Ferrari managed to close the gap to their rivals. However they were still playing second fiddle to the Silver Arrows in the run-up to Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes had taken a leisurely approach to the start of FP2, allowing Ferrari to set the early pace after lunch. Kimi Raikkonen went top with a time of 1:23.143s on the medium tyres, but that lasted only until Bottas made his first appearance and went 0.081s faster.

Hamilton’s first run of the session was squandered when a gust of wind saw him run wide at turn 12. Several other drivers including Bottas were also caught out by the increasing crosswinds, and Max Verstappen had a particularly wild run across the gravel at turn 10.

A move to the soft tyres after half an hour resulted in a major improvement in the lap times. Vettel’s contribution of 1:21.220s was almost two seconds faster, with Raikkonen promptly shaving a further tenth off. However once the two Mercedes drivers came back out, Hamilton and Bottas quickly re-established themselves on top.

  • Spanish GP: Mercedes leads the field in FP1

After the midway point of the 90-minute session, attention turned from qualifying simulations to long-distance runs. Mercedes’ advantage at the top was unchallenged, while Raikkonen finished the day in third ahead of his team mate who had a late run across the gravel in turn 4 after being caught out by another gust.

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Verstappen also survived another off-track excursion at the chicane to finish fifth fastest ahead of his Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo. There was an impressive showing from Renault, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh fastest ahead of his team mate Jolyon Palmer. Rounding out the top ten were Williams’ Felipe Massa and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.

Sainz was responsible for a brief red flag one hour into the session. He ran wide onto the kerbs at turn 9, shaking some bodywork loose from the car which meant the marshalls needed a stoppage to clean up the debris.

After his disastrous morning, Fernando Alonso returned to the track in his repaired McLaren half an hour into FP2. However he reported that the McLaren was even slower than it had been before, and ended the day over three seconds off the pace at the bottom of the timesheets. He did however successfully complete 21 laps following his latest power unit change.

Free Practice 2 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps

1
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
1:20.802s

39

2
Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes
1:20.892s
+ 0.090s
38

3
Kimi Räikkönen
Ferrari
1:21.112s
+ 0.310s
34

4
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
1:21.220s
+ 0.418s
36

5
Max Verstappen
Red Bull
1:21.438s
+ 0.636s
29

6
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
1:21.585s
+ 0.783s
35

7
Nico Hülkenberg
Renault
1:21.687s
+ 0.885s
40

8
Jolyon Palmer
Renault
1:21.992s
+ 1.190s
43

9
Felipe Massa
Williams
1:22.015s
+ 1.213s
38

10
Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso
1:22.265s
+ 1.463s
34

11
Romain Grosjean
Haas
1:22.371s
+ 1.569s
36

12
Esteban Ocon
Force India
1:22.520s
+ 1.718s
37

13
Stoffel Vandoorne
McLaren
1:22.693s
+ 1.891s
36

14
Sergio Pérez
Force India
1:22.722s
+ 1.920s
32

15
Kevin Magnussen
Haas
1:23.007s
+ 2.205s
32

16
Marcus Ericsson
Sauber
1:23.082s
+ 2.280s
37

17
Lance Stroll
Williams
1:23.221s
+ 2.419s
35

18
Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso
1:23.236s
+ 2.434s
27

19
Pascal Wehrlein
Sauber
1:23.599s
+ 2.797s
31

20
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
1:24.077s
+ 3.275s
21

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GALLERY: All the action from Barcelona on Friday

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