Mercedes from Red Bull in Spanish GP Practice
Mercedes topped the opening day’s running at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix courtesy of Lewis Hamilton in Practice 2 and Valtteri Bottas in Practice 1.
Bottas dominated the opening session by the better part of a second, before Hamilton narrowly edged Daniel Ricciardo to the best time in the afternoon’s 90-minute session.
It proved and eventful day in Barcelona, with high winds and the resurfaced track catching teams and drivers out.
A spate of early spins saw a number of drivers harmlessly off track, including for Bottas in Free Practice 1, though Ricciardo did find the barrier early in the session.
It limited the Australian’s running to just 11 laps, but he quickly bounced back in Practice 2 to bank 41 laps en route to a 1:18.392s effort.
His time was just 0.133s off the best for the session, while Hamiton’s marker of 1:18.259s was a tenth off that set by team-mate Bottas in Practice 1.
Engine concerns at Ferrari halted Kimi Raikkonen’s running, though not before a spill through the gravel.
The Finn was eventually forced to park his car with some 40-minute remaining in the session.
Romain Grosjean sat out a large chunk of Practice 2 after spinning early on, with the Haas taken back to the pits on a flat bed truck.
He was able to rejoin the session, posting the seventh best time to hold the mantle of ‘best of the rest’ for the session.
The Frenchman took over from where Fernando Alonso had left off in Practice 1 as the Spaniard fell to 12th in Practice 2, unable to repeat his earlier lap.
Making his official F1 return, Robert Kubica ended opening practice 19th of the 20 runners, faster only than Williams team-mate Lance Stroll in a car he described as “not enjoyable” to drive.
Sergey Sirotkin returned to the cockpit for Practice 2, though both Williams cars remained rooted to the bottom of the timing sheets.
For his part, Sirotkin’s feedback to the team mirrored that of Kubica, decribing the feel of the car as “weird” to the team.
A loose wheel halted Sergio Perez’s progress with just over a quarter of an hour to run in practice, the Mexican coming to a halt out on track.
He briefly got going once more only stop again for good to end his session.
Across the two sessions, Bottas set the best time of all in Practice 1 as teams came to grips with the soft Pirelli tyre, which seems to hold the edge over the faster-wearing supersoft.
A blustery wind accounted for a number of spills, including Hamilton who dropped two wheels off the track on his flying lap in Practice 2, and countless other off track excursions for almost every driver on the grid.
Teams will now regroup ahead of final practice and qualifying, which is scheduled to begin at 2300 AEST on Saturday evening.
Results: Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Practice 2
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull – Renault||41||1:18.392|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull – Renault||39||1:18.533|
|7||Romain Grosjean||Haas – Ferrari||24||1:19.579|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas – Ferrari||39||1:19.643|
|9||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren – Renault||32||1:19.722|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India – Mercedes||28||1:19.962|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India – Mercedes||38||1:20.024|
|12||Fernando Alonso||McLaren – Renault||35||1:20.035|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso – Honda||32||1:20.373|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber – Ferrari||37||1:20.501|
|16||Charles Leclerc||Sauber – Ferrari||29||1:20.514|
|17||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Renault||31||1:20.672|
|18||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso – Honda||34||1:21.265|
|19||Lance Stroll||Williams – Mercedes||35||1:21.556|
|20||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams – Mercedes||36||1:22.060|