The F1 season moves to Spain this weekend and it’s another important weekend for Lewis Hamilton. The gap between himself and Nico Rosberg is now 43 points and it can’t get much higher if Hamilton wants to have a chance of retaining his title. Nor can it get much larger if we want any kind of title race this season.
The first practice session was dominated by Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel fastest ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. With the Italian team already 81 points behind Mercedes in the constructors championship, they have to move quickly to close the gap but not too much should be read into this result as the Ferrari’s were the only team to use the faster soft tyres.
Nico Rosberg was third fastest 0.503 seconds behind Vettel with Lewis Hamilton in fourth 0.157 second adrift of his Mercedes teammate and Championship leader. The Red Bulls filled the next two spots, Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and his new teammate Max Verstappen getting into stride eventually in sixth.
Of course this weekend plenty of attention is aimed towards Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes engine. He surely can’t have more mechanical problems blighting his title hopes. This time around his engine has a new design of part of the hybrid system that has caused him so many problems recently and a new turbo. That better help as his car is only allowed five different changes this season and he’ll face more grid penalties if going over that number, something Hamilton believes is likely to happen. Rosberg has had a new engine put into his Mercedes but is behind Hamilton in terms of changes. At least he’s behind him in something this season!
Sadly Lewis was behind Rosberg again in the second practice session but didn’t manage the runners-up spot. Rosberg was fastest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with the defending world champion 0.719 seconds behind Rosberg with Vettel in fourth.
Further down the field it wasn’t a great day for Jenson Button with his McLaren having unspecified problems. He was 19th in the first practice session having encountered steering problems and 12th in second practice.
I’ll be back tomorrow with all the news from the final practice session and qualifying before looking ahead to the big race. See you then and in the meantime, enjoy watching your racing.