Hamilton on form but Ricciardo just 0.133s adrift as Red Bull impress; Ferrari three tenths back but are they sandbagging? Raikkonen suffers engine failure; McLaren encouraged.
Lewis Hamilton made it a Friday double for Mercedes at the Spanish GP by setting the fastest time in Practice Two, but rivals Red Bull and Ferrari significantly closed in to hint at another tight race weekend.
Hamilton picked up where team-mate Valtteri Bottas left off from the first session and was impressive on his way to a leading 1:18.259 on soft tyres.
But while Mercedes were almost a second clear of the chasing pack earlier in the day, Daniel Ricciardo finished just 0.133s behind Hamilton in P2 as Red Bull edged closer to running their full upgraded package.
Max Verstappen was a tenth back in third, with Bottas only fifth in the sister Mercedes. Both drivers set their fastest times on supersofts, with the top six struggling to extract enough grip out of the weekend’s quickest compound.
And, not for the first time, Ferrari appeared to be keeping their pace cards close to their chest on a Friday.
However, Raikkonen’s session was ended after an engine “malfunctuon” – only just managing to return his car to the pits.
Are Ferrari sandbagging?
|Practice Two||Practice Three||Qualifying|
To add a further layer of intrigue, Red Bull appeared to be consistently faster when it came to the longer runs.
“The Red Bull looked mighty through the last sector in terms of consistency, grip – and I think they are still adding bits to the car through the weekend,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle.
“We don’t really know where Ferrari and Mercedes are on their qualifying pace. But we have a race on this weekend!”
Spanish GP, Practice Two: Race pace averages
|Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes||1:23.476||1:21.827|
|Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes||1:22.952||1:21.836|
|Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull||1:22.889||1:21.429|
|Max Verstappen, Red Bull||1:22.666||1:21.567|
|Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari||1:23.082||1:21.342|
Romain Grosjean finished ‘best of the rest’ in seventh for Haas, despite spinning into the gravel early on in another incident-filled session.
On a green track and in windy conditions, several drivers lost control of their cars momentarily – including Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen.
Sergio Perez, meanwhile, was forced to pull his Force India to the side of the track after suspecting one of his tyres wasn’t bolted on correctly during his pitstop.
McLaren gave their new triple-duct nose its second outing after an impressive debut in P1, and enjoyed another encouraging result as Stoffel Vandoorne finished as their lead car in ninth.
Fernando Alonso was 12th but posted his fastest time on mediums and the team will be optimistic ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Renault appear to be in danger of missing out on Q3 for the first time this season, however, with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz only 13th and 17th respectively.
But their troubles are nothing compared to Williams’ woes. Shortly after Robert Kubica described his experience of driving the car in the first session as “embarrassing”, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin struggled and propped up the field again.
The illustrious Grove team were more than three seconds off Hamilton’s benchmark, and more than a second off the top-10.
Spanish GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:18.259||Softs|
|2. Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:18.392||Softs|
|3. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:18.533||Supersofts|
|4. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:18.585||Supersofts|
|5. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:18.611||Supersofts|
|6. Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1:18.829||Softs|
|7. Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:19.579||Supersofts|
|8. Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1:19.643||Supersofts|
|9. Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||1:19.722||Supersofts|
|10. Sergio Perez||Force India||1:19.962||Softs|
|11. Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:20.024||Supersofts|
|12. Fernando Alonso||McLaren||1:20.035||Mediums|
|13. Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:20.183||Supersofts|
|14. Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:20.373||Supersofts|
|15. Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||1:20.501||Supersofts|
|16. Charles Leclerc||Sauber||1:20.514||Supersfots|
|17. Carlos Sainz||Renault||1:20.672||Softs|
|18. Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:21.265||Supersofts|
|19. Lance Stroll||Williams||1:21.556||Mediums|
|20. Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||1:22.060||Supersofts|