Lewis Hamilton stayed on top as Mercedes set the pace again in Friday afternoon’s second free practice for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The three-time world champion proved again that he has bounced back from the puzzling loss of form that left him struggling to fourth in last month’s Russian Grand Prix won by his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who claimed his maiden success in Sochi.
Hamilton was fastest in the morning’s opening session and topped the second with a best lap in one minute and 20.802 seconds ahead of the Finn by 0.090 seconds.
Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, three-tenths off the pace, ahead of his teammate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
On a day of gusty winds that caused problems for many drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya, last year’s winner Dutch teenager Max Verstappen of Red Bull was fifth fastest ahead of his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of his teammate Jolyon Palmer, Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams and Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso.
Two-time champion and local hero Fernando Alonso missed the entire morning session after an engine failure before he had completed a single lap, but he emerged 30 minutes into the second session to give his fans something to cheer on his way to winding up down in 20th and last sport.
His McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was 13th quickest, as the team, like the rest, spent much of the day evaluating the performance of their many updated parts.
Many drivers had unscheduled off-circuit excursions including Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas and Grosjean. “Very tricky conditions today,” said Raikkonen. “Slippery and not so easy ...”
* Agence France-Presse
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