Bottas edges Hamilton, Ferrari close in FP2

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Bottas edges Hamilton, Ferrari close in FP2

Formula 1

Bottas edges Hamilton, Ferrari close in FP2


Valtteri Bottas remained fastest in the second practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix as he edged out his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.049s.

Quickest in FP1 from the Ferrari pair of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, Bottas improved the best time of the day to a 1m17.284s in the second session during qualifying simulations. The advantage over Hamilton was all in the final sector, with an improved effort on a second timed lap from the defending champion cutting the gap to less than half a tenth of a second.

Ferrari sent out its drivers a little earlier in the session for their soft tire runs, and Leclerc duly posted a 1m17.585s to go 0.088s quicker than Vettel. The pair were 0.3s off Bottas, and Mercedes also appeared to have the upper hand in terms of race pace.

Max Verstappen was fifth quickest and competitive over a long run after an unplanned power unit change between sessions. An oil leak during FP1 saw Honda fit the latest specification ahead of the afternoon session, having originally intended to do so overnight. Verstappen was three quarters of a second off Bottas over one lap, but lost little in terms of track time as a result of the change.

Haas appeared to have lost none of its one lap pace as it was clearly best of the rest on Friday, with Romain Grosjean even threatening Verstappen for fifth place. Grosjean’s time of 1m18.153s was a little over 0.1s slower than the lead Red Bull, and a similar margin separated Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen in seventh and eighth respectively.

Magnussen was over 0.3s clear of the rest of the midfield, with home favorite Carlos Sainz ninth for McLaren and Daniil Kvyat in 10th. The gap from Magnussen to Sainz covered the lead McLaren to Daniel Ricciardo in 15th, with the Australian getting involved in a battle with Gasly late in the session as the Red Bull used DRS to defend and blocked the inside line into Turn 1.

Lance Stroll missed the start of the session due to repairs taking place after his crash that brought out the red flags at the end of FP1. Racing Point confirmed Stroll ran with some old parts while the new ones are repaired ahead of qualifying, and he ended up 13th overall, more than half a second ahead of teammate Sergio Perez who had to gather extra data with the updated car.

There were a number of off-track moments as Kvyat ran wide at Turn 1 and Kimi Raikkonen had a similar trip through the gravel at Turn 8, while Robert Kubica had a spin on cold tires coming out of the final corner. The Williams ended up in the pit lane entry so was forced to drive through the pits before rejoining.