Hamilton strikes back, Vettel splits Mercedes duo in FP2

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel outpaced the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg set the early pace on fresh hard tyres, but Hamilton blitzed that time by 1.249s on a 1m27.826s after 15 minutes.

The session was red flagged soon after, as the entire rear bodywork exploded away from Romain Grosjean’s car while his Lotus was flat-out on the start-finish straight, with its DRS open.

“I lost something in the straightline,” he reported, trundling back to the pits with the rear-end of his car in tatters. The team blamed two fasteners on the top side of the bodywork for causing the issue.

Drivers complained throughout the session of a lack of grip, as track temperature soared in the afternoon heat of the Spanish spring.

Vettel was the first frontrunner to sample the medium tyre, just before the half-hour mark. He beat Hamilton’s hard-tyre best by 0.566s to 1m27.260s, but complained of “a lot of vibrations on this set”.

Kimi Raikkonen only just beat Hamilton’s hard-tyred time on his third lap on medium tyres.

Hamilton changed front suspension settings before his medium-tyre run, and found 0.408s on the medium tyres, despite a lock-up into Turn 10. His 1m26.852s was 0.034s off Rosberg’s fastest time from FP1, set in cooler conditions.

Rosberg’s first medium-tyre lap was compromised by running wide at the Turn 10 hairpin, and complained of “rejected downshifts” over the radio, so was 0.356s off Vettel’s time. He too concentrated on front suspension tweaks in this session.

The session ended in the order: Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg and Raikkonen.

Red Bull’s Daniel Kvyat went fifth fastest on 1m27.943s, as teammate Daniel Ricciardo missed most of the session while his engine was being changed. Riccardo completed a couple of laps near the end, but was only 13th fastest.

Max Verstappen continued Toro Rosso’s strong showing so far by going sixth fastest on 1m28.017s.

Jenson Button also impressed for McLaren in seventh, and found time for a front wing comparison during the session as teams worked on their update packages.

Williams were eighth and 10th respectively with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, sandwiching the second Toro Rosso of top Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr.

Fernando Alonso was 11th in the second McLaren, and provided the comic turn of the session when querying whether his ERS was charging: “Maybe you have a virus in your computer because it's not charging anything.”

The bottom half of the field was in the order: Lotus, Sauber, Force India and Marussia. Will Stevens went off briefly at Turn 5.

Pos  Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Gap   Laps 
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'26.852   26
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1'27.260 0.408 37
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1'27.616 0.764 35
Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1'27.780 0.928 36
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1'27.943 1.091 25
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1'28.017 1.165 32
Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1'28.494 1.642 31
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1'28.525 1.673 39
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1'28.674 1.822 31
10  Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1'28.712 1.860 36
11  Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1'28.723 1.871 28
12  Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1'29.086 2.234 14
13  Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1'29.098 2.246 4
14  Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1'29.217 2.365 34
15  Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1'29.333 2.481 37
16  Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1'29.361 2.509 34
17  Nico Hülkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1'29.601 2.749 38
18  Sergio Pérez Force India/Mercedes 1'29.707 2.855 35
19  Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1'31.929 5.077 30
20  Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1'32.751 5.899 23
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Spanish GP
Sub-event Friday practice 2
Track Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Article type Practice report