- Lewis Hamilton quickest in second practice ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen
Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton went fastest in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday with Mercedes again looking dominant after losing out to Red Bull last weekend.
The six times world champion, who is 30 points clear of Red Bull's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen after five races, lapped the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona with a best time of one minute 16.883 seconds.
Team mate Valtteri Bottas, who had been faster in the morning session with a lap of 1:16.785, was 0.287 off the Briton's pace on an uneventful afternoon.
Verstappen was third in both sessions on a hot day, 0.939 off the Finn's pace in the first and then 0.821 slower in the second, with Renault's Daniel Ricciardo fourth on the timesheets after lunch.
Hamilton has won the last three Spanish Grands Prix and is going for his fourth win in six races on Sunday.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was fourth and sixth fastest respectively in the sessions, with German team mate Sebastian Vettel fifth and 12th.
Vettel has a new chassis for the race after Ferrari found a crack in the one he used last weekend.
Haas's Romain Grosjean, whose car also has a Ferrari engine, was a surprise fifth fastest in the afternoon and had the sixth best time in the opening session.
Racing Point's returning Mexican Sergio Perez, who missed two races due to testing positive for COVID-19, was eighth in session two.
Briton George Russell sat out the opening session, handing his car to Israeli development driver Roy Nissany who was the slowest driver on track.
Nissany lapped 3.879 seconds slower than Bottas but only 0.3 adrift of Williams' Canadian Nicholas Latifi.
Alan Baldwin, Reuters
Okay, that's it from me today
Thanks for joining me. Ben Curtis will be on duty for the Spanish Grand Prix weekend tomorrow and Sunday. Hopefully it will be an uncharacteristically good one.
FP2 ends - Hamilton quickest
Mercedes looking imperious again. Questions about tyre performance will remain but judging what I have seen here I don't think we will have the issues we had at Silverstone. Or certainly not that severe. Hopefully it's enough to get us a marginal two-stop race. And when they get the high fuel loads in and start chucking it around in the race it could change.
FP2 - Two minutes left
So here is the order. It will not change.
FP2 - Sainz has done 17 laps on the softs
His last lap was a 1.24.889 which suggests the wear and degradation is not absolutely hideous. He comes in after another lap.
FP2 - It's all coming up Romain at the moment
Grosjean putting in some handy laps after 12 rounds on the softs.
Aaaaand just as I write that, he pulls into the pits complaining of a loss of power. Would be nice for him to score a point or two this weekend. Oh dear. A replay shows and sounds pretty bad. It happened towards the end of the lap so he could limp back to the pits without too much trouble.
About eight minutes remaining.
FP2 - Bottas runs out of grip towards the end of the lap
And gets his left wheels into the kitty litter. In fact all of his wheels. Gravel all over the track.
FP2 - Verstappen's long run pace looks decent
Ricciardo's not bad, either. He is driving superbly this season. One of the standout performers, no doubt.
FP2 - Kvyat gets a bit angry
"Look at this f------ clown," he says about the Williams of Latifi, who blocks his progress at turn one and two.
FP2 - Sainz gets a warning, of sorts
He has used the old section of track in the final sector a couple of times, has been told not to do it again unless he absolutely has to. Was just using it to stop running into traffic. To be fair, you could end up going right across the front end of a car coming out of the final chicane by doing that.
FP2 - We're into the long runs
Verstappen's engineer on the radio. Mercedes averaging around 1.23.0 at the moment. What can Verstappen do?
FP2 - Order so far
Struggles for Russell. Not sure if being out of the car for FP1 has affected him and he'll catch up later or if it's just been a scruffy session. Standouts are Verstappen, Ricciardo and Grosjean. Vettel not doing too well (again). Slow-mo replay shows him LAUNCHING it over the kerbs of the final chicane. Not very efficient...
FP2 - Verstappen in third
0.8s off Hamilton's time. Albon has made a mess of this lap, sliding in a few spots, getting on the power a bit early. His time is 1.6s off Hamilton, and only good enough for 13th.
FP2 - Ocon goes P8
1.4s off the pace, half a second away from his team-mate. Verstappen now on a hot lap, as is Albon. Verstappen goes quickest in sector one...Albon does not. He's 0.346s off.
FP2 - Magnussen cannot match the pace of Grosjean
He's six-tenths off his team-mate here and in 11th. That's a very good lap from the Frenchman, who was miles ahead of the Dane last weekend, too. Leclerc cannot beat Grosjean's time and goes P4. Vettel goes P10, not great. Ricciardo trumps them to be the only man within a second of the Mercs.
FP2 - Hamilton on a push lap
And he's 0.179s on Bottas after two sectors. Very, very stable throughout the final sector, and takes another tenth out of the Finn through the final handful of corners. He's top by 0.287s as Grosjean goes third fastest, 1.250s behind.
FP2 - It's hot out there
Significance of this session is that this is the time of day when qualifying will be run tomorrow.
Today’s big number…50. Yes, track temperature is now up to 50 degrees centigrade 🥵— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) August 14, 2020
Likely to be even hotter tomorrow, give or take a couple of degrees and similar on Sunday as well.
FP2 - Bottas on soft tyres
Doing a qualification simulation. He's quickest in sector one, will be in sector two and three most likely. only two-tenths up on Hamilton's medium compound run after two sectors. Bit clumsy on exit of the chicane but he goes quickest by 0.8s. He's going to do two cooldown laps before attempting another one. He barely had any throttle on running to the first turn after crossing the line. Backing up in qualifying could be a big problem.
FP2 - It's really a question of "can anyone get within a second of Mercedes"
As it has been the entire season. It's pretty tight after that, however. But yeah.
FP2 - Verstappen up into second on his first proper run
0.427s off the pace of Hamilton on the same compound tyre.
FP2 - Hamilton six tenths ahead of Bottas
George Russell complaining about the hard tyres. Ricciardo now third on the medium tyres, a second off the pace of Hamilton.
FP2 - Leclerc goes top
Bottas second 0.045s away. Perez going okay on a quick lap but only good enough for 11th, 0.970s off the pace. Hamilton is about to blow them all away with his first proper timed lap of the session, he sets the fastest first two sectors... and the final sector to beat Leclerc by a second, both on the medium tyres.
FP2 - A fair bit of action so far
10 drivers to set a time, here's the order so far.
Norris has just taken a couple of tenths off his previous best time.
Otmar Szafnauer speaking on Sky Sports F1 now
He says that the team don't think Sergio Perez picked up coronavirus in Mexico but rather on one of the private jets he hired to get there and back. "That quite frankly could happen to any one of us," he says. He speaks for us all, truly.
FP2 - Norris goes quickest with a 1.19.260
Only one other driver to have set a time, Antonio Giovinazzi 0.415s behind.
FP2 - 83 minutes to go
Norris, Giovinazzi, Ocon, Grosjean etc. out at the moment. Think the Haas looked relatively tidy in first practice. Where will they be at the end of this afternoon?
It's warm. Again.
Nobody out yet. What a surprise.
Times after first practice
- Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1min 16.785secs
- Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:16.824
- Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:17.724
- Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:17.970
- Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:17.981
- Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:18.291
- Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:18.471
- Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:18.606
- Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:18.620
- Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:18.643
- Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:18.733
- Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:18.736
- Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:18.744
- Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:18.888
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:18.917
- Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:18.981
- Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:19.145
- Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:19.230
- Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:20.334
- Roy Nissany (Isr) Williams 1:20.664
And good afternoon. FP2 gets going at 2pm BST so we'll be here for that. Should get a better measure on each team's relative pace on long and qualifying runs.
Right, that's it from me for now
Back at around 1pm for second practice. Hopefully that might be a bit more eventful and enlightening.
FP1 - Classification
And Bottas ends it quickest. Killed a bird on the way, too.
FP1 - George Russell out of the cockpit but still contributing
FP1 - Looks like Vettel has found something today
New chassis or new mindset being the cause? He's just 0.011s away from Leclerc. He has not been that close in a little while. Since Hungary, really.
FP1 - This is kind of how qualifying at the 70th Anniversary GP ended last week
Hamilton and Bottas very close, Verstappen around a second behind then quite tight behind them.
FP1 - 10 minutes to go
Hmmm. Nothing revelatory in this session. Mercedes by far the quickest, though Ferrari and Haas a little further up the order than they have been recently on Fridays. This isn't as much of a power circuit as Silverstone, though, so that seems to make sense that the Ferrari-engined cars aren't being as hampered.
FP1 - Bird strike!
Bottas thinks he hits a bird at turn nine. Feathers flying everywhere. Cannot see much more than that but that could have been nasty.
FP1 - 19 minutes to go
Neither Haas driver has yet been banished to the further reaches of the timesheets as has been their customary place this season. Encouraging for a team that has struggled immensely this season. Grosjean's P14 in qualifying at Silverstone last time out was a very good effort, too.
FP1 - Albon told to come in slowly
He is down in P17. 2.450s off the pace. Not sure of his true performance today but this is not going to help. He has completed 16 laps, so it's not lack of running holding him back.
FP1 - Order with just under 30 mins to go
It has not been the most eventful session in living memory.
- BOT 1.16.785
- HAM +0.039
- VER +0.939
- LEC +1.185
- VET +1.196
- GRO +1.506
- PER +1.686
- MAG +1.835
- STR +1.858
- SAI +1.948
- OCO +1.951
- NOR +1.959
- GIO +2.132
- RAI +2.196
- KVY +2.360
- RIC +2.445
- ALB +2.450
- GAS +3.166
- LAT +3.549
- NIS +3.879
FP1 - Yellow flag as Nissany has stopped on track
Albeit temporarily. Looks like a spin for the Israeli. He gets it going again. He's doing quite well and is only three-tenths off Latifi. Seems he spun at turn 10, the tight right hander, locking the rear wheels.
How good is this track in the grand scheme of F1 tracks?
I have rated and ranked every track that was scheduled to be — or was even seriously discussed about being — on the F1 calendar this year. You can read my entire verdict here, featuring an absolute shed load of tracks. I can't say it's the best of the year...
FP1 - Bottas on a hot lap
He's quickest in sector two and goes quickest overall by 1.731s. Hamilton is about to attempt the same and might even go quicker still. He doesn't but is only 0.039s behind. Grosjean sneaks into third ahead of team-mate Magnussen, both on the soft tyres. Imagine they will be slipping down from there fairly quickly.
FP1 - Kvyat improves to go P7
That AlphaTauri has had some very good qualifying results in the hands of Pierre Gasly, but not so much with the Russian at the wheel. He has been out-qualified by his team-mate eight races in a row, now.
FP1 - Kvyat's first lap is good enough for 15th
He was on the soft tyres, there. Hamilton leads at the half-way point on the hards. Bottas second on the mediums. Perez third on the softs. Run plans all over the place here...
FP1 - Kvyat back out
After just doing a single lap up to this point. Nearly half-way through the session now.
FP1 - Hamilton improves to go quickest
With a 1.18.156, 0.057 quicker than Bottas. Whatever happens with the tyres I can't see anyone getting within half a second of the Mercedes...
Verstappen goes P4, half a second off the pace.
FP1 - Hamilton pops up into second
Although he got a bit sideways at the start of the final sector. He's half a second away from Bottas but a step harder on the tyres.
FP1 - Bottas 0.657s ahead of Ricciardo
Soft tyres for the Aussie. Kvyat has yet to set a representative lap time. Hamilton has set his first, a 1.19.954s on the hards. That puts him 13th.
You want the order?
Well, I've got the order. Pretty irrelevant right now, mind you.
FP1 - Verstappen improves by a smidgen
Ricciardo currently up into third, Raikkonen fourth. Not much to be read into the runs this early, however. You do have to question the point of having TWO of these 90-minute practice sessions and another hour practice on Saturday. Why? Two lots of one hour would be much better. Or even just a single hour on Friday.
FP1 - Albon back in the car, then
No real problems, probably just a plan to get him out of the cockpit before he started his first proper run. Meanwhile, Bottas goes quickest 0.999s quicker than Verstappen. He was on the mediums, though, Verstappen on the hard tyres.
FP1 - Verstappen goes quickest
It looks a fairly quick lap. Or with a lot of effort, anyway. He goes quickest by 1.5s over Nicholas Latifi in the Williams.
Williams' reserve driver Roy Nissany in place for George Russell in FP1
Leclerc's aero rakes
FP1 - Problems for Albon?
He's getting out of the car as the mechanics have metres and metres of wiring in their hands. Not sure exactly what is going on but it does not look good. He has done an installation lap, however.
Checo back in the car
FP1 - Vettel improves to a 1.22.879
Only Leclerc and Vettel have set a time so far. Think we should get rid of 90 minute practice sessions, to be honest. Definitely we do not need two of them.
FP1 - Ferrari first cars to set a time
A 1.24.910 for Vettel and a 1.36.645 for Leclerc as he gets out there with some aero rakes around his rear wing.
90 minutes to go. A few cars venturing out already.
Five minutes until FP1 gets underway
It's hot out there currently.
Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari has had a chassis change
There was a crack in it though the team say that this was unlikely to have caused any huge performance issues. Vettel struggled massively at Silverstone and currently sits 13th in the championship with just 10 points. Leclerc is fourth with 45 points.
Sergio Perez is back
He has tested negative and can race again for Racing Point, after Nico Hulkenberg replaced him at both Silverstone rounds. Welcome back Checo.
Current driver standings: top 10
Good morning F1 fans
Welcome to our coverage for the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix practice. We'll be kicking off with first practice, naturally. A little over a few days ago we may have said that we are facing a dull weekend of Mercedes dominance, but after two weekends with difficulties for the six-time champions, the race in Catalunya could come with its problems for them, too.
At the first race at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton was lucky to hang onto his victory as both he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered late tyre failures. The second round at the same track was not so simple, with both the Briton and the Finn suffering from heavy tyre blistering in the hot temperatures on a high-load, high-wear track. Max Verstappen won that one comfortably, in the end.
The question about blistering and tyres will also be relevant at this track, too. It's not quite as full-throttle as Silverstone but it is quite similar in other ways, especially with three high-speed right-handed turns, notably turn three and turn nine. I expect Mercedes to be comfortably quickest here in qualifying trim as they have been all year. We might learn something or nothing from practice today.
Speaking of qualifying, the FIA has announced that it will be outlawing the various qualifying engine "party modes" that teams use on Saturdays. This will come into effect for Belgian Grand Prix at the end of this month.
Hamilton dismissed it as a ploy to stop Mercedes dominance. "It is not a surprise because they are always going to slow us down, but it doesn't really change anything," said the six-time champion. He later said it would not be a panacea to stop their supremacy in qualifying trim. "It is obviously to slow us down, but I don't think they will get the result they want."