Scuderia Ferrari were unable to top the leaderboard in Barcelona, as dominant Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team once again demonstrated why they secured their recent string of World Championships.
Disappointingly, even with their latest upgraded additions to the car, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were still 0.310s and 0.418s behind leader Lewis Hamilton; their times during Free Practice 1 placed the pair even further off the pace, 0.935s and 1.079s respectively.
The second practice session was plagued by a breeze that took most of the drivers by surprise. This didn’t go unnoticed by Vettel, who believed it may have affected their performance on the day.
He sounds as though the car hinted at more, even if the time sheets didn’t really show it.
“Today the conditions seemed to be quite challenging, but we can improve,” he said. “I wasn’t totally happy as I think a lot was left in the track and I didn’t find it at the end.
“At the same time I feel the car is quick so I just need to get it right. I think everybody struggled today.”
His sentiments were echoed by Raikkonen, who expects to see a more true representative of grid order tomorrow.
It is not uncommon for teams to turn up their engines during qualifying, which may have a more profound effect now the cars have been updated.
“It was pretty windy and slippery out there today,” Raikkonen said. “I think it was the same for everybody; the first day you find out how the track is and you go from there.
“The lap times from today’s practice don’t tell a lot , we were able to follow our programme and try different things.
“Compared to winter testing, it’s pretty normal to find different conditions, because temperatures are higher and the track status changes.
“As on any other Friday, there is some work to be done, so we’ll see what we come up with for tomorrow”.
Ferrari can at least continue the weekend with the knowledge that they are still second best as Bull Racing have been unable to make up the deficit between the two. And Raikkonen goes into Saturday having pipped his team-mate in all of the sessions so far.