RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes secured their second one-two of Friday’s sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Lewis Hamilton heading team mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.287s in Free Practice 2 for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third.

    With track temperatures some 10 degrees hotter than in FP1 this morning, Hamilton’s best time from the qualifying simulations in FP2 was a 1m 16.883s, 0.098s slower than Bottas’ session-leading time from earlier in the day – while Bottas had a small hesitation at Turn 16 on his fastest flying lap, which may partially explain the gap to his team mate, before later running slightly off the track at Turn 12 on his long run.

    FP1: Bottas pips Hamilton in first practice for the Spanish GP as Vettel gets closer to Leclerc

    As he was this morning, Verstappen was the best non-Mercedes runner, 0.821s adrift of Hamilton for Red Bull. Behind though, came two of the most impressive performances of the session, Daniel Ricciardo reconfirming Renault’s strong one-lap pace recently by going fourth fastest, 0.164s off Verstappen.

    Meanwhile, after ending up P6 this morning, Romain Grosjean went one better in FP2, ending up fifth to round off what performance-wise was Haas’ most positive day of 2020 so far – although that was tainted slightly by a late issue on Grosjean's car, which the team were set to investigate after the session.

    Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio De España 2020

    Spain 2020

    Practice 2 results

    POSITION TIME
    1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:16.883
    2 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes +0.287s
    3 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing +0.821s
    4 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Renault +0.985s
    5 Romain Grosjean GRO Haas F1 Team +1.250s
    FP2 Highlights: 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

    Having finished just a tenth behind his Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc in FP1, Sebastian Vettel struggled more in FP2, ending up in P12 to Leclerc’s P6, albeit the pair were separated by a not-enormous 0.257s. It was certainly a smaller gap than the one from Verstappen to Alex Albon in P13, which stood at 0.787s after the quali simulations, Albon having made a mistake out of Turn 5 on his fastest lap.

    READ MORE: ‘I expect him to bounce back’ – Former team mates and rivals back Vettel after tough start to 2020

    Behind Leclerc in sixth, Carlos Sainz was P7 for McLaren in his new MCL35 chassis – Vettel also running his own new SF1000 chassis, after a crack was discovered on his old one – while Sergio Perez was eighth on his first day back at the wheel of his Racing Point RP20 since contracting Covid-19.

    Rounding out the top 10 came the second Renault of Esteban Ocon, who complained about a lack of rear stability on his R.S.20 before finishing ninth, while 10th was Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri, 0.045s ahead of the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll in P11.

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    Grosjean was enjoying himself on Friday... until he complained of a loss of power

    Behind Vettel and Albon, Lando Norris was 14th for McLaren, ahead of the second AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat and the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen, who was unable to summon up the one-lap pace of Grosjean.

    READ MORE: Sainz hoping McLaren solve pit stop 'weakness' and cooling issues ahead of home race

    After starting the last race at the back of the grid, Alfa Romeo will have been mildly cheered to have headed Williams in FP2, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in P17 and P18, while Nicholas Latifi was the leading Williams driver, George Russell returning to his car having given it up to Roy Nissany this morning, with the Briton complaining that the feeling behind the wheel of his FW43 was like “driving on ice”, as he ended up 2.508s off the ultimate pace in P20.

    So, Mercedes are ahead – but can the likes of Renault, Haas and Ferrari keep themselves in amongst the sharp end of the action when qualifying gets under way? We'll find out on Saturday.