The season has been dominated by Mercedes with 1-2 finishes in all four of the races so far. With respect to Mercedes, we could really do with that not happening this weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, but Friday’s practice sessions were full of more good news for the championship leaders.
Drivers – 87 – Valtteri Bottas 86 – Lewis Hamilton 52 – Sebastian Vettel 51– Max Verstappen 47 – Charles Leclerc
Constructors – 173 – Mercedes 99 – Ferrari 64 – Red Bull
World Championship leader Valtteri Bottas continued his good form as he finished fastest in the first practice session. His Mercedes was 0.115 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with his team-mate Charles Leclerc 0.221 seconds off the pace.
It could have been another Mercedes 1-2, but Lewis Hamilton could only finish fourth fastest. He wasn’t happy with his tyres moaning that “Tyre prep terrible. Rear tyres are done.” when recording his quickest lap as he set a time 0.624 seconds behind Bottas.
Fifth fastest was Romain Grosjean in his Haas with the McLaren of Carlos Sainz in sixth using a new engine. He was just ahead of the other Haas driven by Kevin Magnussen. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly was eighth-fastest with the top ten completed by Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and the Renault of Nico Hulkenburg who was 0.061 seconds ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
It wasn’t a perfect session for Bottas as his Mercedes suffered an oil leak. A precautionary engine shutdown took place and he wasn’t racing for the final 20 minutes of the session. For the final quarter-of-an-hour he was joined by Max Verstappen after his Red Bull had a fluid leak. He only managed to set the 12th fastest time in the session.
Ferrari are introducing an upgraded engine as well as aerodynamic upgrades for this weekend but that wasn’t in use today, so something to look forward to tomorrow. No upgraded engine for Mercedes but they have got some aerodynamic upgrades.
The session ended early after Racing Post’s Lance Stroll crashed at Turn Nine after brushing the grass, he ended up going straight into the wall. There was only a minute of the session left, so no great loss and Stroll was uninjured.
It was a Mercedes 1-2 in the second practice session of the day with Valtteri Bottas 0.049 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The British driver was able to get a faster time when using soft tyres on his second lap but couldn’t better the earlier time set by his team-mate.
Ferrari filled third and fourth places with Charles Leclerc 0.301 seconds behind Bottas and Sebastian Vettel a further 0.088 seconds behind. It was a better session for Max Verstappen as his Red Bull finished fifth fastest but 0.751 seconds off the pace. Romain Grosjean filled sixth place ahead of the other Red Bull driven by Pierre Gasly. Kevin Magnussen was eighth with Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat ninth and tenth respectively.
Another dominant day for Mercedes then and when using the same tyres, they seemed to be at least 0.5 seconds faster than Ferrari. It’ll be interesting to see what Ferrari can do tomorrow but the signs are that it’s going to be another good weekend for Mercedes. I’ll be back tomorrow with a report on the final practice session and qualifying, till then enjoy your racing.