May 23, 2018

Mercedes' Lewis Hamiton tops second practice at Barcelona

13 May 2018, 12:13 | Donald Newman

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German four-time champion Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of his team-mate 2007 champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bulls of Dutchman Max Verstappen and Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

But he has been left fuming by hastily drawn up plans created to make overtaking easier from next season onwards which will see a major redesign of the cars, even though another overhaul of the regulations is due for 2021.

"It will be close", he said. "It's a shame it's only four hundredths but for us as a team, ideal result today".

"So, it was definitely important, and I am happy too especially because I had such a busy week coming into this weekend".

A good starting position is crucial in Spain as there are not many overtaking opportunities.

But Hamilton still expects his title rival to be challenging for pole position in today's qualifying shoot out.

Bottas was second, 0.150s down, with Vettel third, 0.269s off the pace. The victor has come from the front row in 24 of the 27 races in Barcelona. Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China and Hamilton triumphed in Azerbaijan.

Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth quickest in second practice and positive about the improved handling of the auto, but said McLaren had to wait until qualifying to know if it had taken a real step forward.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas.

"We are very pleased to have received preliminary approval towards bringing a Formula One Grand Prix to Miami", said Sean Bratches, Formula One's commercial managing director. "So that's a positive thing".

McLaren has introduced several new parts for the Renault-powered MCL33 at Barcelona, including a striking new nose that has caught attention since it was seen in public for the first time on Thursday. Though the new long-haul races have made a huge contribution to the economics of Formula One, they have done little to augment the atmosphere.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos.

The 2018 season is panning out to be one of the most exciting campaigns in recent years with three teams at the top competing for race wins.

The sport's governing body last week announced changes to the cars' front and rear wings and front brake ducts for the 2019 season.

He had to retire and lost a lot of track time.

He emerged unscathed, although the team has a significant rebuild job to get him out for qualifying after the auto sustained extensive damage to the rear, which had the entire rear axel hanging off as it was recovered.

Lance Stroll continued to struggle with Williams, going off track in the final minutes of qualifying. He had also gone to the gravel in practice earlier on Saturday and on Friday.

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