Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel outpaced Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to split the dominant duo.
The reigning World Champion lapped the 4.655-kilometre Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a 1:26.852 to go 0.408 seconds faster than Vettel, with Rosberg 0.8 seconds off the pace of his team mate. KimiRäikkönen was fourth-fastest in his SF15-T meanwhile, as Ferrari once again emerged as the Silver Arrows’ closest contender.
Whether the Scuderia’s challenge might be enhanced by the new updates and developments they’ve brought to Spain this weekend remains to be seen. The gaps between the Mercedes and Ferrari – more or less – remained the same as they were in Bahrain, although Rosberg reported gearbox problems during his qualifying practice run on the Medium compounds, claiming his gearbox was rejecting downshifts.
In the last half hour of the session the team embarked upon their race simulations, with Hamilton consistently lapping in the low 1:31’s on his harder compound tyres before they started to drop and he once again complained of his seat being too hot.
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat was fifth fastest, but his teammate Daniel Ricciardo missed most of the session after yet another Renault engine change. The Australian completed a couple of laps near the end, but could only go thirteenth-fastest.
Impressive rookie Max Verstappen was sixth-fastest in his Toro Rosso and his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr was in ninth place, splitting the Williams Martini Racing duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa who were eighth and tenth respectively.
Jenson Button gave his Woking-based outfit McLaren signs of encouragement, putting his MP4-30 racer in seventh place, about 1.6 seconds off the pace of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Button’s team mate Fernando Alonso was 11th fastest and brought a highlight of the afternoon when he complained to his engineer about the performance of his energy recovery system. In an amusing exchange:
“The battery is not charging,” the Spaniard said.
“It is charging, keep going,” his engineer replied.
“Maybe you have a virus in your computer then because it’s not charging,” Alonso fired back.
Early on in the session was a hard time for Romain Grosjean, when the rear bodywork of his E23 Hybrid racer exploded down the main straight, forcing the red flag to come out briefly to clean up the debris left out on track from his Lotus.
The Enstone team fixed the rear bodywork as quick as possible with the replacement repair being relatively straightforward. Even so, the Frenchman might have been forgiven for casting more than a quizzical eye as he saw in his mirrors at the repair job of his pit crew, putting a lot of gaffer tape over the affected areas of his car. He ended the session twelfth-fastest, two places ahead of his Venezuelan teammate and 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado.
Saturday’s final practice session at Sakhir begins at 11:00 local time (GMT +2).
|Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2015 – Free Practice 1 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:26.852||26|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:27.260||+ 0.408||37|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:27.616||+ 0.764||35|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:27.780||+ 0.928||36|
|5.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:27.943||+ 1.091||25|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:28.017||+ 1.165||32|
|7.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:28.494||+ 1.642||31|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:28.525||+ 1.673||39|
|9.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:28.674||+ 1.822||31|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:28.712||+ 1.860||36|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:28.723||+ 1.871||28|
|12.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:29.086||+ 2.234||14|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:29.098||+ 2.246||4|
|14.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:29.217||+ 2.365||34|
|15.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:29.333||+ 2.481||37|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:29.361||+ 2.509||34|
|17.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:29.601||+ 2.749||38|
|18.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:29.707||+ 2.855||35|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:31.929||+ 5.077||30|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:32.751||+ 5.899||23|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
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