RACE DEBRIEF

    Championship leader Lewis Hamilton got the better of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas as he set the pace in second practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, as his chief title rival Max Verstappen backed out of his low fuel run…

    Just a tenth separated Verstappen and Hamilton in FP1, the former holding the advantage in the morning – but when everyone switched to the soft tyre for their qualifying simulation, Verstappen had a very untidy lap.

    READ MORE: Bottas tops first practice in Spain for Mercedes ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton

    First he locked up at Turn 1 and while the Red Bull driver was only down by 0.1s after the first sector, he carried way too much speed into Turn 10, ran very wide – exceeding track limits – and decided to abort the run and ultimately ended up ninth.

    There were no such problems for Hamilton, who sat a fraction off Bottas after the first runs on the medium tyres, but launched to the front of the pack when the switched to the softest compound, finishing 0.139s clear of the Finn.

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was a surprise third, the Monegasque setting the quickest final sector of all as ended just 0.165s adrift, around three tenths quicker than team mate Carlos Sainz, who had a less clean lap that was also impacted by traffic.

    Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio De España 2021

    Spain 2021

    Practice 2 results

    POSITION TIME
    1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:18.170
    2 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes +0.139s
    3 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari +0.165s
    4 Esteban Ocon OCO Alpine +0.296s
    5 Fernando Alonso ALO Alpine +0.348s

    Alpine were something of a surprise package in Portugal, ending Friday with both cars in the top six and scoring with both cars on Sunday – and they continued that good form into Barcelona, with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso – running a series of new aero parts – fourth and fifth respectively, inside 0.4s of the top time.

    Pierre Gasly was a fraction behind in sixth, with his AlphaTauri team mate Yuki Tsunoda recovering from a run over the kerbs early in the session – which flicked the car into idle mode – to end up a strong seventh, just 0.026s behind Gasly.

    The Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez closed out the top 10, neither showing the true pace of the RB16B in a somewhat frustrating session for the four-time world champion squad.

    READ MORE: Kubica apologises for FP1 spin – ‘I paid a high price for a small mistake’

    Sebastian Vettel, who was given the upgrade Aton Martin team mate Lance Stroll received in Portugal, was the leading green car in 11th, 0.777s off the pace and two tenths quicker than the Canadian.

    FP2 Highlights: 2021 Spanish Grand Prix

    It wasn’t such a successful session for McLaren, who have brought a new front wing and floor to Barcelona. Lando Norris ran wide on at least four corners on his low-fuel run, which explains why he could only manage the 12th best time.

    His team mate Daniel Ricciardo, knocked out in Q1 in Portugal, was 0.1s slower down in 15th. Antonio Giovinazzi was the quickest Alfa Romeo in 13th, a tenth and three places ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who got his car back from reserve Robert Kubica for FP2.

    There were no heroics from George Russell in FP2, as he ended up seven tenths behind Raikkonen but he did beat his team mate Nicholas Latifi, with the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin bringing up the rear.

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    Verstappen ran wide on his soft tyre run and backed out of the lap