Hamilton takes charge in Barcelona as Raikkonen hits problems

Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W09.
© XPB 

Mercedes continued to top the time sheets in Barcelona on Friday, this time with Lewis Hamilton emerging fastest in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was over a tenth faster than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who shrugged off his curtailed morning session to finish ahead of his team mate Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest ahead of morning pace setter Valtteri Bottas. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest in the second Ferrari, but lost time after the car's power unit appear to cut out leaving him coasting home.

Spanish Grand Prix - Free Practice 2

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.259s39
2Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:18.392s+ 0.133s41
3Max VerstappenRed Bull1:18.533s+ 0.274s39
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1:18.585s+ 0.326s34
5Valtteri BottasMercedes1:18.611s+ 0.352s39
6Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:18.829s+ 0.570s16
7Romain GrosjeanHaas1:19.579s+ 1.320s24
8Kevin MagnussenHaas1:19.643s+ 1.384s39
9Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:19.722s+ 1.463s32
10Sergio PérezForce India1:19.962s+ 1.703s28
11Esteban OconForce India1:20.024s+ 1.765s38
12Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:20.035s+ 1.776s35
13Nico HülkenbergRenault1:20.183s+ 1.924s43
14Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:20.373s+ 2.114s32
15Marcus EricssonSauber1:20.501s+ 2.242s37
16Charles LeclercSauber1:20.514s+ 2.255s29
17Carlos SainzRenault1:20.672s+ 2.413s31
18Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:21.265s+ 3.006s34
19Lance StrollWilliams1:21.556s+ 3.297s35
20Sergey SirotkinWilliams1:22.060s+ 3.801s36

Conditions after lunch remained largely unchanged on the morning, with sunshine and blue skies offset by continuing gusts of strong wind over the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The session started badly for Romain Grosjean. After putting in the first time of FP2 of 1:21.454s, he went into the gravel after losing the rear-end of the Haas into the high-speed turn 7.

A virtual safety car was declared while the beached VF-18 was craned away by marshalls. The car was returned to the team garage and no great harm had been done, allowing Grosjean to return to action later in the session.

Soon after the VSC period ended, Sebastian Vettel was back up to speed. He put Ferrari top with a time of 1:19.421s, which was immediately bettered by Red Bull's Max Verstappen to the tune of four tenths.

He improved his time to 1:18.699s with his next effort. That was enough to keep him ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who had come out to play by this time.

A subsequent effort from Hamilton saw the Briton go to the top with a time of 1:18.259s on soft tyres. Daniel Ricciardo took up second place after the Red Bull mechanics had spent lunch repairing the damage to his RB14 after running off into the barriers during the morning session.

After the first half hour, drivers started to switch to the supersofts. However, the rising temperatures and gusty wind combined with the smooth new track surface contributed to a number of oversteering moments for both Hamilton and Bottas.

The struggles were not limited to the Mercedes camp. Verstappen also ran wide in turn 8 on his qualifying run, although he did manage to improve to third fastest. Kimi Raikkonen took a much more extensive tour through across the gravel and grass at turn 4, and Vettel also had some excitement as did Sauber's Charles Leclerc.

Altogether, drivers were struggling to find additional speed despite the softer compound. Soon drivers were focussed on race distance simulations rather than struggling in vain for faster laps.

Unfortunately Raikkonen wasn't among those taking part. The Ferrari was sounding rough and slowed on track when Ferrari race engineers ordered him to stop the car. Fortunately a downhill slope enabled him to coast back toward pit lane where mechanics could look over the SF71H.

Also ending his day early was Sergio Perez, who was forced to pull over at the side of the track with just under 15 minutes remaining. Replays showed his front tyre becoming detached. Marshalls pushed the Force India behind the tyre barrier where the Mexican remained a spectator for the final moments.

Before the end of the session , a spin for Verstappen in turn 2 triggered some local waved yellows. The Dutch driver remained third fastest behind Hamilton and Ricciardo, with Vettel fourth ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen.

Despite his early mishap, Grosjean finished the day with the seventh fastest time ahead of his recently reprimanded team mate Kevin Magnussen. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) and Perez rounded out the top ten ahead of their team mates Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

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