Following two pulsating race weekends around Silverstone, Formula One concludes their second triple-header of season in Barcelona for 2020 Spanish Grand Prix.
With hot temperatures forecast throughout weekend, Sergio Perez returned for Racing Point after missing both Silverstone rounds due to self-isolation following positive Coronavirus tests.
Mercedes however were dominant throughout Friday Practice at a track which teams know well from winter testing in February.
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Several drivers opted for early installation laps with Sebastian Vettel soon going fastest until Verstappen ventured out and set a fastest time of 1m 19.574 in 20th minute, until Valtteri Bottas bettered his effort with 1m 18.575 just a minute later.
Verstappen’s teammate, Alex Albon meanwhile struggled with understeer throughout this session on top of an issue which forced him to slowly pit, eventually finishing eighth fastest and 0.882s off Verstappen after re-emerging towards end of the session.
Midway through the session, several drivers opted for a soft run in cool conditions, with Bottas coming out on top with a 1m 16.785 and 0.039s quicker than Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top five ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean, who put in a strong lap to outpace the returning Perez in sixth and seventh positions respectively.
Williams rested George Russell as Formula Two’s Roy Nissany got a run out and finished 0.330s slower than Nicholas Latifi, despite a late spin at Turn 10.
FP2Embed from Getty Images
A quiet start saw McLaren’s Lando Norris be first to venture out in the fourth minute, as many opted for medium tyres in their opening stints with Leclerc doing a 1m 19.050 to go quickest in 15th minute from Bottas who was 0.045s slower on hard tyres.
Hamilton then set the quickest time just minutes later with a 1m 17.970 before Bottas set a 1m 18.590 to go third as Verstappen soon afterwards slotted into second with a 1m 18.397.
Russell took over his regular seat from Nissany in FP2 but found himself struggling with the mediums and softs in hot temperatures as he eventually finished the session in 20th position and post-race, described reaching Q2 tomorrow as a “pretty tough” task.
Up front, Bottas was the first top driver to try a soft run as he produced a 1m 17.170 but Hamilton bettered his time with a session topping 1m 16.883, which was just 0.098s slower than Bottas’ top FP1 time due to hot conditions on track.
Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Grosjean rounded out the top five ahead of Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Perez, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.
Vettel and Albon found themselves in 12th and 13th positions after mistakes on their qualifying simulations, with everyone managing decent race simulations despite tyre degradation looking likely to influence a two stop race strategy come Sunday. .
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 16.785|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.039s|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.939|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.185|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.196|
|6||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.506|
|7||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 1.686|
|8||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.821|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.835|
|10||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.858|
|11||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.948|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.951|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.959|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 2.103|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.132|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.196|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 2.360|
|18||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 2.445|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 3.549|
|20||Roy Nissany||Williams||+ 3.879|
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 16.883|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.287s|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.821|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.985|
|5||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.250|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.264|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.331|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 1.410|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.420|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.429|
|11||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.474|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.521|
|13||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.608|
|14||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.623|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.759|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.878|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.017|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.081|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.272|
|20||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.508|