Spanish GP 2024

JUNE 21, 2024

Friday Report - Hamilton tops tight session

Lewis Hamilton
© Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in the second practice session (FP2) for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the five fastest teams separated by less than a quarter of a second. The tight margins highlight the importance of overnight setup work, which could be crucial for the weekend’s outcome. Hamilton’s best lap narrowly beat Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by just 0.022 seconds, indicating Mercedes’ resurgence with their upgraded W15 car. George Russell showed strong potential but missed out on a fastest lap due to a minor error. These performances suggest Mercedes might be overcoming their struggles since early 2022. Ferrari, determined to move past their disappointing Canadian GP, showed strong performance. Sainz matched Hamilton’s pace and was competitive in long runs. Charles Leclerc, despite minor mechanical issues, secured the sixth-fastest time and improved during long runs. Red Bull, expected to dominate, faced unexpected challenges. Max Verstappen struggled with understeer and the car was loose on corner exits, and his long-run pace was nearly half a second per lap slower than his rivals. Sergio Pérez faced persistent problems, resulting in extended pit stops that did not resolve the issues. Oscar Piastri was the fastest in long runs, narrowly ahead of teammate Lando Norris and Hamilton. Both McLaren drivers showed strong pace, indicating they could be strong contenders throughout the weekend. Piastri’s minor error in Turn 10 didn’t overshadow his overall performance. Pierre Gasly delivered a standout performance by securing P4 in FP2, bringing some positivity to Alpine. His fast lap was likely aided by a lighter fuel load, but his long-run pace was more in line with midfield teams. Esteban Ocon, with the heavier chassis, finished ninth and displayed competitive long-run speed. Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten, reinforcing Alfa Romeo’s pace. Aston Martin and VCARB were still adjusting to their heavily upgraded cars. Fernando Alonso finished 14th, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who reported significant understeer issues that need to be addressed overnight. Overnight setup work will be crucial with such tight margins. Teams will focus on fine-tuning their cars for qualifying and the race. Red Bull faces substantial work to address their handling problems and regain competitiveness. The close competition and surprising performances from several teams set the stage for an exciting Spanish Grand Prix. Qualifying will be fiercely contested, and strategic decisions during the race could be decisive. Fans can expect an action-packed weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.