Latest News / Headline

FP2 - Hamilton and Mercedes take command in Spain

09 May 2014

Lewis Hamilton stamped his authority over the rest of the field at Barcelona on Friday afternoon with commanding showings over both short and long runs.

The Briton finished more than four-tenths of a second clear of team mate Nico Rosberg as Mercedes lost little time in disabusing their rivals of any aspirations of matching their speed.

The silver cars set the pace whenever they were running fast on Pirelli's hard compound tyre, and after Daniel Ricciardo had briefly moved ahead on his first run on the medium rubber, Hamilton and Rosberg replied on the same tyre with times that left the Red Bull trailing.

Hamilton's best of 1m 25.524s was 0.449s faster than Rosberg's 1m 25.973s, and a whopping 0.985s faster than Ricciardo's 1m 26.509s. And just to rub it in, he was 1.597s quicker than fourth man Fernando Alonso's 1m 27.121s. If there was meagre consolation for Ferrari, it was that Alonso's team mate Kimi Raikkonen was back on form in fifth place with 1m 27.296s.

As usual, the signs are that the ever-present understeer in the high- and medium-speed corners, allied to tyre damage on acceleration out of the slow turns, will lead to very high tyre degradation in the race, suggesting that three- or four-stop strategies may predominate. Mercedes' race pace was also impressive, with Hamilton and Rosberg running around a second faster than Red Bull and Ferrari.

Ricciardo had to represent Red Bull on his own, as Sebastian Vettel's woes continued. The four-time champion had electrical issues this morning and such was the damage they wrought on his RB10's wiring loom that he was in no position to run at all in FP2.

Kevin Magnussen was happier to outpace McLaren team mate Jenson Button as they took sixth and seventh places, but it was tight between them; the Dane lapped in 1m 27.788s, the Englishman in 1m 27.811s. Felipe Massa was right with them for Williams with 1m 27.824s, and once again there was good news and bad for Lotus. Pastor Maldonado continued to show that the E22 now has top 10 pace, with a best lap of 1m 27.866s which left him ninth, but Romain Grosjean could only manage 1m 29.493s and had to stop his session early after the engine problems he experienced this morning continued. Then right at the end the Maldonado had to stop as a precaution after experiencing gearbox maladies.

Daniil Kvyat continued to impress with the 10th fastest time of 1m 28.049s which left him fractionally ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Force India on 1m 28.074s. Jean-Eric Vergne was 12th on 1m 28.246s but stopped right at the end when his Toro Rosso shed its right rear wheel in Turn 1 after a tyre change. It remains to be seen what action the stewards may take against the team.

Adrian Sutil gave Sauber a much-needed boost with the 13th fastest time of 1m 28.284s in their new lightweight chassis, and that left him ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who took his Williams back from Felipe Nasr. The Finn lapped in 1m 28.698s.

Next up was Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber on 1m 29.105s, Sergio Perez in the second Force India on 1m 29.129s, Grosjean, and Jules Bianchi on 1m 29.991 for Marussia. The Frenchman's team mate Max Chilton struggled badly with understeer, lost his MR03's monkey seat mini wing, suffered a couple of engine dramas and then slid off into the gravel at Turn 4 just after the chequered flag had come out. His best lap of 1m 31.148s left him at the back with the evenly matched Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi (1m 31.338s) and Marcus Ericsson (1m 31.586s) just behind.