BARCELONA, Spain – Lewis Hamilton started off the Spanish Grand Prix weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya by setting the fastest lap time during a pair of practice sessions on Friday afternoon.
The reigning Formula One champion topped the second practice with a fast lap of 1:18.170, which turned out to be the fastest lap of the day across both practice sessions. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was second fastest overall, .139 seconds slower than Hamilton at the conclusion of the day.
“It’s been a good start to the weekend, the track is awesome and our balance is similar to what we had in the last race,” said Hamilton.
“It looks close but I think we’ve got good pace – we understand the car and know which direction we need to go balance-wise. We made some tweaks along the way, I don’t know if the car go better through the session but there were definitely findings there and we’ll analyze the two sessions to hopefully have a better set-up for tomorrow. It’s amazing to see the progress that McLaren, Ferrari and Alpine are making, not just Red Bull, and that puts pressure on us.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third fastest overall and in the second practice, followed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
Max Verstappen struggled during Friday’s two practice sessions, managing only the sixth fastest time overall. His quick lap came during the first practice, with Verstappen only able to manage the ninth fastest time during the second practice.
“Overall I think we actually had quite a good day and the car seems pretty competitive. I was a little bit wide at turn 10 on my push lap in FP2 but there is nothing shocking to report from either session,” Verstappen said. “The track changes to turn 10 seem better over one lap when you are pushing. It is a bit faster and more enjoyable to drive, but for overtaking I think it could be worse. How competitive we are going to be tomorrow is always going to be a question mark on a Friday but from our side we are quite happy. Of course you always want to improve and do better so we just have to make sure tomorrow that we are up there but I’m looking forward to it.”