Formula 1

Leclerc Ends Friday on Top as Mercedes Finish Close Behind

2 Mins read
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc ended Free Practice 2 the same way he ended the morning session, on top. The championship leader demonstrated strong pace at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in what were scorching conditions.

The Monegasque driver ended the day with just over a tenth of an advantage, from none other than both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers. George Russell occupied second whilst Lewis Hamilton delivered in third. Both Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes have brought a large upgrades package to the Spanish Grand Prix, which so far seems to be working for them both.

Mercedes’ drivers found themselves in a Ferrari sandwich at the end of the opening day, as Carlos Sainz Jr finished the first day at his home Grand Prix in fourth. Oracle Red Bull Racing appear to have some work to do, and certainly some pace to find, Max Verstappen ended day one in fifth whilst Sergio Pérez was down in seventh spot.

In Verstappen’s defence, the Dutchman was top following the drivers medium tyre runs, before slipping down the order when everyone fitted the soft compound. The more experienced Spaniard on the grid, Fernando Alonso, kept his Spanish compatriot in good company after ending Friday in sixth-place, just two tenths behind Sainz.

Pérez did well Friday afternoon to get up to speed quickly, the Mexican didn’t feature in the morning session as Formula 2 driver Juri Vips got an opportunity to drive the RB18. The biggest talking point of the weekend so far is the new green Red Bull, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team introduced some substantial upgrades on the first day of running in Spain, with the car now having a very similar design to Austrian side.

Sebastian Vettel put his AMR22 in eighth-place, to wrap up a promising start to the weekend for the four-time World Champion. Esteban Ocon and Mick Schumacher rounded-up the top ten.

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish driver pulled to the side of the circuit having just completed two laps. The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver suffered from a technical issue, yet still ended the day faster than Guanyu Zhou. The Chinese driver was another not to feature in the morning session, he was replaced by Robert Kubica.

It was a frustrating day for the McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia AlphaTauri. Lando Norris sat out the majority of the afternoon after running-off circuit and damaging his floor, whilst Pierre Gasly complained about traction issues in his AT03.

Williams Racing, however, were the biggest strugglers on day one, with both Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi at the bottom of the leaderboard. Albon sat out the morning session, after Nyck de Vries took his spot in the rising Spanish sun. De Vries did manage to finish ahead of Latifi in the opening Free Practice session.

Full Spanish Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Results:

1Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m19.670s
2George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m19.787s
3Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m19.874s
4Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m19.990s
5Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m20.006s
6Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m20.203s
7Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m20.632s
8Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m20.703s
9Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m20.745s
10Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1m20.757s
11Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m20.917s
12Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m21.013s
13Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m21.249s
14Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri1m21.285s
15Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m21.385s
16Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m21.828s
17Guanyu ZhouCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m21.866s
18Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m22.319s
19Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m23.197s
20Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m23.388s
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