Formula 1

Spanish Grand Prix Friday Round-up: Mercedes Reign Supreme

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Credit: Jiri Krenek

Friday saw the first on-track action of the Spanish Grand Prix with Free Practice 1 and 2. It’s the first time this year the drivers will drive on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since pre-season testing was moved to Bahrain. 

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team dominated with their drivers topping both sessions. Valtteri Bottas topped the morning, beating Max Verstappen by just 0.033 seconds. Lewis Hamilton brought his car home in third. It was Hamilton’s turn to top the timings in the afternoon, going nearly four tenths of a second faster than Bottas’ morning time. Bottas completed a one-two in second place with Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completing the top three.

Red Bull Racing seemed to be struggling on the opening day. Despite Verstappen coming second during the morning session, he wasn’t able to come any higher than ninth in the afternoon. Sergio Pérez found himself in mid-table. He came ninth and tenth respectively. Red Bull will be hoping they can compete come Saturday.

McLaren F1 Team have been the underdogs so far this year, with both their drivers scoring points at every race. However, Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t able to break into the top ten in either of the sessions with finishes of fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. 

Lando Norris has been having better luck; His morning session saw him put in a fastest time placing him fourth overall, while his second session saw him finish twelfth overall. 

Charles Leclerc has visibly improved in 2021 after a poor 2020 season for him. He found himself inside the top five in both sessions, claiming fifth in the first and climbing to third for the afternoon’s running.

Scuderia Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. still isn’t on the same pace as Leclerc, but he isn’t too far behind him. With a sixth and eighth place finish respectively, he’s looking on top form for his home grand prix.

Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda have started off their weekend in a strong position. Pierre Gasly claimed seventh and sixth respectively, continuing on his fine pace he’s had of recent. 

Yuki Tsunoda has been the standout of the 2021 rookies and continued on to impress. He wasn’t able to do any better than eleventh in the first session but pulled out a lap in the afternoon that placed him just half a second behind Hamilton in seventh. He suffered a small technical issue when his car lost power halfway through the session but that didn’t mar his running.

Alpine F1 Team looked a liked two completely different teams. During the morning’s session, Esteban Ocon finished twelfth and Fernando Alonso even further down in fifteenth. The duo put on their racing boots for the afternoon, putting both drivers in the top half with Ocon in fourth and Alonso just behind him in fifth.

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team floated around mid-table all day. Sebastian Vettel came eighth with Lance Stroll in tenth during the mornings running. They weren’t able to improve in the afternoon and even fell further down the grid with an eleventh from Vettel and Stroll coming in fourteenth.

Kimi Räikkönen sat out the first practice of the day, lending his car to Robert Kubica. Kubica’s had some good pace but his session was marred when he beached his car in the gravel after Turn 10, causing the session to be red flagged. He finished nineteenth overall.

Räikkönen jumped back into the car for the afternoon. His best time was only a second off Hamilton’s but with most of the grid bunched up, this only got him sixteenth fastest.

Teammate Antonio Giovinazzi finished thirteenth in both sessions, a strong days running for the Italian driver.

Roy Nissany took George Russell’s Williams Racing car out for the morning session. He came a respectable seventeenth. Russell jumped back into his car for the afternoon, but ‘Mr Saturday’ didn’t charge the grid and came seventeenth overall.

Nicholas Latifi sixteenth in the early session. He unfortunately wasn’t able to repeat this result, falling down the grid to eighteenth in the afternoon.

Nikita Mazepin found himself in the middle of a few incidents once again. During the morning session, he spun at Turn 7 and also got in the way of Leclerc’s flying lap making the latter say ‘Mazepin will never change’ on his radio. During the afternoon session, Mazepin’s car was released from the pits into the path of Räikköne, leaving the Finn to swerve out of the way to avoid a collision. Mazepin finished bottom in both sessions in twentieth. 

His Uralkali Haas F1 Team teammate Mick Schumacher had a quiet day. He came eighteenth and nineteenth respectively. 

Free Practice 1 results

PosNODriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.50425
233Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.537+0.033s19
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.627+0.123s22
44Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:18.944+0.440s24
516Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:18.996+0.492s25
655Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:19.020+0.516s22
710Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:19.062+0.558s26
85Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:19.234+0.730s24
911Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing Honda1:19.349+0.845s17
1018Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:19.429+0.925s25
1122Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:19.669+1.165s22
1231Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:19.681+1.177s25
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:19.694+1.190s23
143Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:19.732+1.228s24
1514Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:19.950+1.446s25
166Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:20.270+1.766s25
1745Roy NissanyISRWilliams Racing1:20.700+2.196s23
1847Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:20.766+2.262s23
1988Robert KubicaPOLAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:21.887+3.383s13
209Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1:21.976+3.472s22

Free Practice 2 results

PosNODriverNat.TeamTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.17032
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:18.309+0.139s31
316Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:18.335+0.165s28
431Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:18.466+0.296s29
514Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:18.518+0.348s30
610Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:18.593+0.423s32
722Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:18.619+0.449s30
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1:18.674+0.504s30
933Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.785+0.615s26
1011Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.918+0.748s23
115Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:18.947+0.777s30
124Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:19.092+0.922s28
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:19.122+0.952s29
1418Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:19.134+0.964s29
153Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:19.195+1.025s28
167Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1:19.213+1.043s30
1763George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:19.957+1.787s29
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:20.046+1.876s26
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:20.326+2.156s30
209Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1:20.753+2.583s27
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