Valtteri Bottas led the way during the second practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, edging his Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.049s, after the British driver endured a frustrating first half of the session.
Bottas’s fastest lap, which was part of his qualifying simulation, was a 1.17.284, and that gave the Finn driver a 0.049s advantage over his team-mate. Meanwhile, Ferrari once again trailed the Silver Arrows, as Leclerc and Vettel were over three tenths adrift of the standard set by the Mercedes cars.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was just behind the two Ferrari’s — albeit with a bit of margin — as once again Gasly struggled to get on equal terms with the Dutch driver.
Story of the session
As the light went green, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was first to take to circuit here in Barcelona, swiftly followed by Grosjean, Verstappen and Ricciardo.
The first times came on the board by Kevin Magnussen and the two Toro Rosso drivers. The Dane set the benchmark of a 1.19.481s, with Kvyat and Albon swiftly followed. However as Sebastian Vettel took to track in the upgraded Ferrari, he went straight to the top of the time-sheets with a 1.18.989. Magnussen was able to pip Vettel on his next run, as Leclerc was 0.9s off the pace – but was on the harder tyre.
After a short interval, the Mercedes drivers took to circuit. Bottas went fastest right as he took to circuit, setting a 1.18.259s in his Mercedes, while Hamilton backed out of his first lap. after a scrappy first half of the lap. He improved to a 1.17.835 on his second lap, which gave him a 0.711s advantage over the field.
Hamilton was finally able to set a representative lap-time, after struggling to hook up a lap initially on the hard tyres – albeit 0.8s off his team-mate’s pace-setting lap time.
The Ferrari’s were first to head for qualifying simulations, as Vettel set a 1.17.673, with Leclerc just 0.027s behind in the other Ferrari. However, the duo were just 0,162s faster than Bottas’ time set on the medium tyres in the Mercedes. On his second lap, Leclerc improved to pip Vettel with a 1.17.585s, which put him 0.088s ahead of his team-mate.
As the Mercedes took to circuit for their qualifying simulations, Bottas and Hamilton climbed up to lead a Mercedes 1-2, with Bottas setting a 1.17.289, with Hamilton 0.126s adrift of his team-mate yet again.
As the soft tyres allowed for improvement on drivers’ second runs, Hamilton was able to close the gap to team-mate Bottas down to just 0.050s on his second qualifying-simulation attempt, as Bottas was unable to go even faster on his second attempt, despite an improvement in the first sector.