Lewis Hamilton edged out Daniel Ricciardo by just over a tenth of a second to pace the field in the second free practice session of the weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but Scuderia Ferrari endured a tough session that saw Kimi Räikkönen crawl into the pits with an apparent engine problem.
Hamilton put the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team to the top of the timesheets for the second time this weekend after team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the first session, with the reigning World Champion setting a time of 1:18.259s, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing duo Ricciardo and Max Verstappen just behind the Briton.
Ricciardo will be pleased to recover after losing much of the morning session after running off track and nudging the tyre wall at turn four, while Verstappen was one of a number of drivers to spin as the wind continued to trouble the stability of the cars around the Spanish circuit.
What will please the Red Bull duo though was there apparent pace when teams turned their attention to long runs and race simulations, with both Ricciardo and Verstappen enjoying good speed on both the Supersoft and Soft compounds compared to both Mercedes and Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel ended 0.326 seconds back in fourth in the leading Ferrari, while morning pacesetter Bottas was only 0.026 seconds further back in fifth in the second Mercedes ahead of the ailing Räikkönen.
Räikkönen had already had an off-track moment through the gravel trap at turn four before a puff of blue smoke escaped the back of his SF71-H down the back straight, and he crawled back to the pits, freewheeling the final few hundred yards.
Romain Grosjean had an early trip into the gravel trap at turn seven that necessitated the use of the Virtual Safety Car for the first time during the session, with his Haas F1 Team VF-18 being recovered to the pits on the back of a flatbed truck, but the Frenchman was able to return to the track in the second half of the session to set the seventh fastest time, just ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Stoffel Vandoorne had a delayed start to the session as his McLaren F1 Team mechanics worked on the car, but the Belgian was able to put his updated MCL33 into the top ten, ahead of the leading Sahara Force India F1 Team car of Sergio Pérez.
Unfortunately for the Mexican, he was forced to stop late in the session as he was allowed to leave the pits without his left front tyre attached properly, which is likely to result in a fine for the team. It is not the first team in 2018 to suffer with issues with unsafe releases this year, with Haas, Ferrari and McLaren already having received fines for their own issues.
Pérez edged out team-mate Esteban Ocon for the final spot inside the top ten, the duo separated by just 0.062 seconds, while the second McLaren of Fernando Alonso ended twelfth, a further 0.011 seconds back.
Nico Hülkenberg will be disappointed to be only thirteenth in the leading Renault Sport Formula One Team machine ahead of the leading Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda of Pierre Gasly, while Marcus Ericsson came out on top of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team battle ahead of Charles Leclerc, the duo fifteenth and sixteenth, separated by just 0.013 seconds.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was 2.413 seconds down on the ultimate pace in seventeenth, almost half a second down on team-mate Hülkenberg, while Brendon Hartley was almost a second down on his team-mate Gasly in eighteenth.
After a troubled first session, it did not really improve in the second for Williams Martini Racing, with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin ending up at the back of the field, 3.297 and 3.801 seconds down respectively.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Free Practice 2 Result
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||1:18.259|
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:18.392|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:18.533|
|4||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:18.585|
|5||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||1:18.611|
|6||7||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Scuderia Ferrari||1:18.829|
|7||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:19.579|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:19.643|
|9||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||McLaren F1 Team||1:19.722|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Sahara Force India F1 Team||1:19.962|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Sahara Force India F1 Team||1:20.024|
|12||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:20.035|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Renault Sport Formula One Team||1:20.183|
|14||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1:20.373|
|15||9||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||1:20.501|
|16||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||1:20.514|
|17||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Renault Sport Formula One Team||1:20.672|
|18||28||Brendon Hartley||NZL||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1:21.265|
|19||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Williams Martini Racing||1:21.556|
|20||35||Sergey Sirotkin||RUS||Williams Martini Racing||1:22.060|