It was business as usual for Mercedes at Barcelona on Friday after the disappointment of being beaten by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last Sunday.
After only finishing last weekend’s race in the second and third spot, Mercedes bounced back today with another dominant showing at Barcelona, enjoying a competitive advantage of over eight tenths of a second over its closest challenger Max Verstappen. The continuation of their dominance was less surprising after what the team had showed back in February during the pre-season testing on the demanding circuit, located nearby Montmelo.
Ferrari seemed to be in a better form in the morning session at the track where it suffered badly at the end of February. The picture changed significantly in the second practice as the scarlet red team slipped down the order when the temperatures rose in the afternoon. However, their combined best sector times and Charles Leclerc’s high-fuel runs indicate that the Scuderia might have carried over its improved form from Silverstone despite the Barcelona circuit that presents drivers and cars with a very different set of challenges.
After the disappointment of being pipped to the victory in Silverstone, Mercedes bounced back in style, topping both practice sessions. Bottas looked the more composed in the morning before Hamilton took over P1 in the afternoon. Their qualifying pace is reasonably assured, with the two team mates pushing each other closely. But once again they did appear to struggle slightly with tyre wear, which could make Sunday’s race very interesting.Lewis Hamilton
"It's definitely been quite tough out there today. I don't think I've ever been to Spain when it's been this hot. The weather is beautiful, but it's tricky for the car and very tough on the tyres as well. It's also been quite windy and that can make it difficult out there, but it's a good challenge. It's been a positive day, particularly the second session which went better for me. We didn't see any blistering, the tyres felt okay and the long runs didn't look too bad, but we also didn't see any blistering last Friday, so we'll have to remain careful. We'll debrief this evening and see where we stand and what we can do to improve. The Red Bulls look very close to us on the long runs, so we can expect another close race here."Valtteri Bottas
"It's been a good day for us, and we've gained plenty of learnings. It's a nice feeling to be back on track here and feeling the improvements of the car since we were last here, back in pre-season testing. The car felt good out there, but obviously there's some fine-tuning to do. The morning session was a bit better for me today than the afternoon. I struggled with some understeer at the beginning of FP1, but that was quite easy to fix, and it felt a lot better by the end of the session. We did long runs on all of the tyre compounds today and I didn't experience any blistering, so there will be lots of learnings for us to look into in order to really maximise tyre performance here. We're looking strong but the main thing will be Sunday with these temperatures and whether we can keep these tyres in a good condition."
Red BullMax Verstappen
“The car was performing quite well and overall it was a positive day. Over one lap we are clearly still lacking to Mercedes but on the long runs the car felt nice to drive which is of course what is important for the race. We are using the hardest tyre compounds here which is different to last weekend. I would maybe have liked the softer tyres (laughs) but that is not for us to choose, the tyres are manageable and it is pretty hot out there! I expect in qualifying that Mercedes will still have the edge as they are very fast but who knows in the race. I felt quite good today so let’s see if I feel the same on Sunday when it matters.”Alex Albon
“I felt pretty comfortable with the car in FP1 and I think we found a good direction in that session. We tried a few things in FP2 that didn’t quite go the way we wanted them to but that’s what Fridays are for, seeing what works and what doesn’t. We’ll have a look at the data this evening to see how we can maximise our performance tomorrow. The tyre degradation today felt okay compared to last weekend at Silverstone, saying that, it’s tricky out there with track temperatures at around 48 degrees so there will be a lot of tyre management on race day, that’s for sure!”
"It was a mixed day: I was reasonably happy in terms of our one lap pace, even if in the afternoon I struggled a bit more to put the laps together. However generally I have a better feeling with the car. Today we tried a few things and we have learned some things we can use tomorrow. Let’s see where we are after quali.
"In terms of race pace we should be quite okay, but obviously there is still some work to do. In particular, managing the tyres will be key and with the high temperatures expected to continue, this will be far from easy."Charles Leclerc
"It has been quite a good day, once again better than expected, which is positive. Our quali pace was good, even though there’s still some work to do here and there to improve, so I am confident we can extract the maximum out of the car in quali and if I manage to get the balance where I want it to be we can have a pretty good result.
"Also, the race simulation we did went fairly well. We have a lot of data on this track from winter testing, but it’s very difficult to compare it with the data we gathered today in such different conditions. With regards to the heat, out on track is not that hard because at least there’s some air, but when you are in the garage it’s like being in a sauna!"
Racing PointSergio Perez
“It was great to be back in the car today: I’d missed Formula 1 so much! I’m very pleased to be behind the wheel and working with my team again. I thought it would take me some time to get back up to speed after missing two race weekends, but I’m pleased that I was able to get back into the rhythm very quickly. It was a physical day out there in the high temperatures, but the main thing is that we showed promising pace, so I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. We completed today’s programme, and I’m happy with what we achieved, so we can aim for a good result in qualifying and points on Sunday.”Lance Stroll
“It was pretty toasty out there! I’m looking forward to a cold shower now! It wasn’t the easiest Friday, but we know there are areas where we can make improvements overnight and for Sunday, so I’m confident we can take a good step forward. We’ve seen in today’s running that a strong race result will require good tyre management as the track temperature is so high this weekend. Now that we’ve experienced these types of conditions, we can go away and make sure we set the car up as well as possible for tomorrow and Sunday. It was great to see Checo back in the car too. I’m confident that we'll be fighting for points on Sunday.”
“It’s not been an easy day, but nevertheless, we’ll work hard tonight and find some solutions. Conditions are very warm here and that doesn’t make things easy. On our side, we have a bit of work to do at the moment, especially on car behaviour and finding some consistency. It was a little challenging to drive – especially with rear stability - and we’re not on top of the issue from Silverstone yet. The good thing is that the car has great pace and we just need to unlock it. Physically, a tough day too in the heat but I’m feeling fine and ready for tomorrow.”Daniel Ricciardo
“It’s been a pretty good day for us, especially the afternoon’s running. On the timesheets, at least, it’s another decent Friday: third last week, fourth today, so we’ll try and keep that going. Our long run was looking quite competitive as well. I wasn’t too happy with the car in the morning, but we made a good step in the afternoon, similar to Silverstone last week. The tricky thing here is the heat. We haven’t driven here in the heat for so long and it’s completely different to what we felt at winter testing. We’re trying to understand that, but we got a better grasp on it this afternoon with the tyres in a better place. We have more work to do before tomorrow, but we’ll aim to put in a good one.”
“I don’t really know where this performance came from. In all fairness, it’s the same car from the beginning of the year, we’ve just been making some good set up work since Silverstone. The performance there was really good, but it was power sensitive, here that’s maybe a little less. Sixth in FP1, fifth in FP2, then the long run pace was pretty good too – we’re really happy with all that. There’s a little bit more work to be done on the car to bring it more to my liking. I hope nothing changes though, I hope this all stays the same so tomorrow we can go for a really good qualifying session – that would definitely set up a good weekend.”Kevin Magnussen
“It’s been a positive day. I didn’t get a great run on low fuel in FP2, so my best lap time doesn’t look good, but Romain (Grosjean) showed what’s in the car. Running on high fuel, it was all very positive. The car seems to be working very well around here. It’s been very hot, there’s a lot of heat in the tyres, but it seems to be working. I think this track obviously suits us a little better. I’m pretty positive and very happy with today. It’ll be harder tomorrow, but hopefully we can get a little further up in qualifying than we have done so far this year, from there we can have a good race.”
"It was very tough; I think the track temperatures being so high meant that the tyres were really struggling for everyone in these difficult conditions. It wasn’t awfully pleasant, and I think we have a bit of work to do to get on top of it for tomorrow. I was a bit off the ball to start the short run having missed FP1, and then going straight in on the hard tyre didn’t help. We are not used to seeing Barcelona with these track conditions, we pre-empted that, but I think we need to go a step further. I think we can get some more pace out of the car for tomorrow, but I think Q2 which has been our focus and our aim in the last few races will be pretty tough this weekend."Nicholas Latifi
"It was definitely very hot out there and the conditions were much more humid compared to Silverstone. It was a tricky day trying to get the right settings for one lap performance versus high fuel running. Especially after the previous rounds where we seemed a bit more competitive compared to our direct competitors, it seemed we were struggling a bit more today. We have lot of homework to do tonight to try and get back on the pace of the Haas and Alfa tomorrow."
“A normal Friday for us, where we tried a couple of test items and mainly tried to understand the overheating issue we had in my car over the last weekend. Unfortunately, the problem is still there and costing lap-time, so we’ll keep investigating in order to take the best decision.
“Apart from that, performance-wise, the car wasn't too bad today. There are still a few changes to make for tomorrow, but the main focus point now is still the cooling.”
“A tricky day in terms of getting to know the car a bit around here, but not too bad to be honest. We’re trying a few of the things we struggled with in Silverstone, but we also made a fresh start as it’s a new track.
“I think we’re fairly comfortable, we’ve got a good direction to work in but we’re not there yet – I’m basically looking for more grip overall. The car doesn’t feel bad, so I think we can make some improvements overnight and be a bit more competitive. On the whole, today was clean, we got our running in, got a good understanding of the car – that’s what’s most important.”
“It was a positive Friday for us, we managed to do quite a few laps and completed an extensive test session. In FP2 we managed to finish in the top 10, even if I still feel like I’m not fully happy with the car. We weren't able to get the balance exactly where I wanted it to be unlike in recent weekends, so I think we’ll have a bit of work to do for tomorrow in order to improve the balance, find a bit more performance and be in a good position for qualifying.”Daniil Kvyat
“We had a productive Friday, we managed to do quite a few laps despite having a problem in the morning. It was not ideal to miss the first part of FP1, but we managed to recover some of the lost time in FP2, so I’m looking forward to putting together a clean day tomorrow and have a strong result in qualifying. We’ve got some work to do tonight to understand where the car is at and where we can find the last couple of tenths to put us in a position to fight for the top 10.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen
“It was a fairly regular Friday: we tried various things, trying to find the best way to set up the car for tomorrow. The car feels very similar to the last few races, you can’t expect big changes in such a short time, and that’s not yet where we want it to be. The key at this stage is to understand how to extract the best from the package we have at the moment.”Antonio Giovinazzi
“Not the easiest day to start our Spanish Grand Prix weekend: we struggled a little in these conditions and there is a lot we can improve in terms of pace. We know there’s a lot of work ahead of us, we need to make some solid work tonight and try our best in the limited amount of time we will have in FP3 tomorrow.”