2017 Spanish GP FP2: Hamilton completes Friday double

2017 Spanish GP FP2: Hamilton completes Friday double

For the second time today, Lewis Hamilton lead the way in Free Practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas completing a promising afternoon for Mercedes. Fernando Alonso encountered more woes at his home race.

James Eagles

Lewis Hamilton continued his Free Practice 1 pace by topping a tricky afternoon session in Barcelona, just shy of a tenth faster than Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with the Ferrari pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top four.

Red Bull's much improved package couldn't help them break the duopoly at the top, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo trailing in fifth and sixth respectively.

A blustery day

Despite temperatures reaching the mid-twenties, a slight wind was the main cause for concern with drivers scrabbling for grip on the medium tyres, the mid-range tyre brought for the Spanish weekend by Pirelli.

Hamilton and Verstappen displayed their reactions and car control early on at Turns 13 and 9 respectively, with the latter thrown onto the gravel island by a cross-wind turning understeer into oversteer. No damage done, he returned to the pits.

Bottas was the man to beat early on, with Mercedes teammate Hamilton down in fifth. His closest rival came in the form of Raikkonen -  a two time winner here - who was under a tenth away from his fellow Finn. The sister Ferrari of Vettel followed in third, with Verstappen used as a breakwater to separate the two championship leaders.

Verstappen kept quiet about upgrades. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson
Verstappen kept quiet about upgrades. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

Vettel wasn't to stay behind for long, becoming the first man to venture out onto the soft tyres, and immediately beating Bottas' time by two-tenths shy of two seconds. Moments later, Raikkonen bettered the German's time on the same compound, as the prancing horses started to gallop, with times edging towards low 1:20 barrier.

Renault make improvements

But, similarly to the morning session, the Mercedes pair were not to be stifled - Hamilton lead Bottas by a tenth at the top, the two Ferraris now trailing. Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer also showed promising pace, the former dragging his Renault to inside a second of Hamilton's first soft tyre run. With Palmer not too far behind, the French marque seem to have made big improvements.

A few garages away, a former Renault driver wasn't having a happy homecoming. The morning's oil leak and resulting engine component changes meant that Fernando Alonso failed to set a time in the first half of the session. He'd spent more time on the tennis court then the tarmac. When he did saunter out, on the medium and then soft tyres, he remained rock bottom to cap off a dreadful Friday.

A rare sight - Alonso on track. | Photo: Getty Images/David Flamos
A rare sight - Alonso on track. | Photo: Getty Images/David Ramos

Ferrari's session wasn't all promising, despite having drastically lowered the gap to Mercedes from the morning - Raikkonen was warned about his engine overheating with around half-an-hour of the afternoon left.

Red flag and race simulations

Some stray debris from the bargeboard of Carlos Sainz' Toro Rosso at the exit of Turn 9 brought out a very brief red flag.

With race simulations proving to be the order of the last 20 minutes, Hamilton's time was unrivalled, with Mercedes taking the top two positions on the timing screens for the second time today; the only drama being a late spot of rallycross for Bottas at the chicane of Turn 7.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:20.802 - 39
2 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes 1:20.892 +0.090 37
3 Kimi RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:21.112 +0.310 34
4 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari 1:21.220 +0.418 36
5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:21.438 +0.636 29
6 Daniel RICCIARDO Red Bull 1:21.585 +0.783 35
7 Nico HULKENBERG Renault 1:21.687 +0.885 40
8 Jolyon PALMER Renault 1:21.992 +1.190 43
9 Felipe MASSA Williams 1:22.015 +1.213 38
10 Carlos SAINZ Toro Rosso 1:22.265 +1.463 34
11 Romain GROSJEAN Haas 1:22.371 +1.569 36
12 Esteban OCON Force India 1:22.520 +1.718 37
13 Stoffel VANDOORNE McLaren 1:22.693 +1.891 36
14 Sergio PEREZ Force India 1:22.722 +1.920 32
15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas 1:23.007 +2.205 32
16 Marcus ERICSSON Sauber 1:23.082 +2.280 37
17 Lance STROLL Williams 1:23.221 +2.419 35
18 Daniil KVYAT Toro Rosso 1:23.236 +2.434 27
19 Pascal WEHRLEIN Sauber 1:23.599 +2.797 31
20 Fernando ALONSO McLaren 1:24.077 +3.275 21