Hamilton to the front in second Spanish GP practice

Lewis Hamilton topped a tight second practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix that featured three different constructors in the top three separated by less than 0.1s.

Hamilton, a six-time winner in Barcelona, set the benchmark at 1m13.264s in his revised Mercedes, pipping Carlos Sainz’s heavily updated Ferrari by just 0.022s.

First session pacesetter Lando Norris completed the top three for McLaren, 0.055s off the pace, the Briton’s only problem being a run-in with the curbs that he suspected could have caused him some floor damage in the final 10 minutes.

Pierre Gasly was an impressive fourth for the backmarker Alpine team, taking his car to within 0.179s.


Max Verstappen didn’t feature among the leaders on a difficult afternoon for Red Bull Racing, which struggled with balance before the soft-tire runs early in the session.

“The car is loose in the exits in general,” he radioed his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. “Still just weird understeer mid-corner. This car doesn’t bite.”

The Dutchman was again quickest in the rapid first sector, but he hemorrhaged time through the middle split and couldn’t recover through the final third of the lap, leaving him 0.24s adrift of Hamilton and in need of answers overnight.

Teammate Sergio Perez, whose poor performance have become something of a bellwether for Red Bull Racing’s struggles, was far further adrift. The Mexican, who has pinned this weekend’s race as the round at which he’ll resurrect his season, ended the day 13th and 0.817s off the pace, although he lost time earlier in the session to an apparent technical problem that kept him garaged.

Charles Leclerc lacked the pace of his Ferrari teammate, leaving him sixth and 0.333s off top spot, with Oscar Piastri and George Russell following him in the order.

Esteban Ocon was ninth and half a second off the pace despite being equipped with the marginally lighter and therefore nominally faster Alpine chassis, which is rotating between the team’s two drivers, having been with Gasly up until now.

Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10 on a difficult day for Sauber, with Zhou Guanyu heading for an early shower in the final 10 minutes of the session, the Chinese driver ending the day 17th.

Haas teammates Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg — the latter taking back his car from Ferrari reserve driver and presumed replacement candidate Oliver Bearman — finished 11th and 12th ahead of Perez, Fernando Alonso and a tightly matched Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, who were separated by just 0.046s.

Zhou was an early retirement in 17th ahead of Lance Stroll and Williams duo Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.

Story originally appeared on Racer