Sebastien Vettel and Nico Rosberg were the two quickest drivers in today’s practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The two Ferrari’s were on top in the morning practice session, with Sebastien Vettel leading the way from team mate Kimi Raikkonen on a 1m23.951s, whilst the Mercedes of Rosberg clawed back the advantage in the second session by posting a best time of 1m23.922s.
Ferrari were the only team to run the Soft compound tyre during FP1, which yielded lap times that were around five tenths quicker than Mercedes who set the pace early on the Medium tyre.
In the afternoon Mercedes made the switch to the Soft tyre, with Rosberg’s first run being two tenths quicker than Raikkonen’s attempt. Hamilton meanwhile was bogged down by traffic on his run, and with a scruffy first sector that meant he could only handle third quickest ahead of Vettel who also didn’t get another run on the Soft in.
Max Verstappen managed to stay within two seconds of Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. After replacing Kvyat, it seems Verstappen has taken to the RB12 quite well, getting separated only by Fernando Alonso in FP2 who put in a good effort to go seventh quickest.
With it being the first European round of the championship, some teams have came to Barcelona with aero updates. Force India have probably came with the biggest update, with all new tighter bodywork, front and rear wings which are supposed to be worth an extra half a second.
Perez was quickest through the speed traps, however he encountered a problem midway through the session when smoke started to come out of the back of his car. The team have yet to tell us the problem, but it looked like a component managed to catch fire, possibly due to overheating.
Haas were also struggling with balance problems. Romain Grosjean came over the exclaiming “The car is a disaster at low speed, there is no rear-end [grip] at low-speed.” Similarly his teammate was also sliding his rear end, with it looking like a scene out of Tokyo Drift through the twisty turns 4 and 5 complex.
It was a similar affair in the second practice session for Grosjean. As his team mate was sidelined in the garage after nine laps with an electric issue, the comments got harsher; “I think we are fucking up front wear” said the 13th quickest man.
Manor meanwhile, who brought a couple of updates with them this weekend were nearly over a second quicker than both Sauber drivers (who of course have no updates other than engine upgrades), meaning their prediction of beating the Swiss team could happen this weekend.
The only drama of the day came from Jolyon Palmer, whose rear left tyre blew out on the main pit straight in an incident similar to the one Kevin Magnussen suffered in China a couple of weeks ago. That brought out the Red Flag briefly, with Palmer getting back out in the final 17 minutes of the session.
Photo Credit: LAT Photographic