Max Verstappen was the fastest during the Friday practice sessions for the Spanish GP, posting a best time of 1:13.907 in Practice Two. Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg were the closest to Verstappen, with Aston Martin showing their pace in the afternoon after using the first session to gather data on their upgrades for this weekend. Mercedes was half a second off the pace in the upgraded W14, and will need to improve overnight to be involved in the battle. Saturday’s qualifying session could be closely fought even if Verstappen looks the man to beat for pole position. Practice Three can be watched live on Sky Sports F1 at 11.30am on Saturday ahead of Qualifying at 3pm.
Sky Sports F1 reported that Max Verstappen continued his dominance in the Spanish Grand Prix by topping the timesheets in Practice Two. Verstappen was the only driver to clock in a time below 1:14, finishing with a best lap time of 1:13.907. Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg were the closest competitors to the world championship leader, finishing 0.170s and 0.211s off his pace, respectively.
Verstappen’s impressive performance came after he finished seven tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field in Practice One. The Red Bull driver’s lead was smaller in qualifying trim, but Alonso’s pace in the upgraded Aston Martin car showed that Verstappen may not have it easy in qualifying. “Fernando we thought would have his best chance of giving the Red Bulls a go in Monaco, but he’s only a tenth slower here so that’s positive and we potentially have a race on our hands,” said Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff.
Hulkenberg, who is driving at the Barcelona circuit for the first time since 2019, was a standout performer in Practice Two. The Haas driver finished in third place, just two tenths off Verstappen’s lead time and ahead of Sergio Perez in the sister Red Bull.
Esteban Ocon continued his strong form by picking up the fifth fastest time, just ahead of the two upgraded Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. The three drivers were separated by less than a tenth of a second, offering hope for a closely fought qualifying session on Saturday.
Mercedes, however, will need to improve overnight if they hope to be involved in the battle for pole position. The team was half a second off the pace in their upgraded W14, with Lewis Hamilton finishing in eighth place and Valtteri Bottas in ninth.
Despite Verstappen’s dominance in Practice Two, the Red Bull driver faced a moment of levity during the session. Verstappen joked with his engineer over team radio after hearing a phone ring during the session.
The action continues on Saturday with Practice Three at 11.30am on Sky Sports F1, ahead of Qualifying at 3pm. Fans can watch the action live on Sky Sports F1 and stay up to date with the latest news and analysis on the Sky Sports F1 website.