Spanish Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap


Event: Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2) for the Spanish Grand Prix (Round 5 of 21)
Date: Friday, May 13
Location: Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya
Layout: 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit
Weather: Sunny and breezy 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) for FP1, Partly cloudy and breezy, 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for FP2
Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez

Free Practice No. 1 Rundown
Grosjean: 16th-quick (1:27.258), 17 laps completed
Gutiérrez: 17th-quick (1:27.283), 18 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari (1:23.951)
Most Laps: Valtteri Bottas of Williams (36 laps)

Free Practice No. 2 Rundown
Grosjean: 13th-quick (1:25.899), 33 laps completed
Gutiérrez: 21st-quick (1:28.205), 9 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:23.922)
Most Laps: Daniil Kyvat of Toro Rosso (44 laps)


Friday’s two practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya allowed Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez to return to the track where they first wheeled the VF-16 during preseason testing in late February and early March. With four races in the books since those initial laps around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit, the duo utilized the track time to prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

In the morning session (FP1), Grosjean was 16th fastest among the 21 drivers hitting the track with a best lap of 1:27.258. Gutiérrez was just behind his teammate in 17th with a lap of 1:27.283. Grosjean earned his fast time during a 10-lap run and Gutiérrez was quickest during an 11-lap stint. Both drivers ran the Pirelli P Zero White medium tires throughout the session, with Grosjean totaling 17 laps and Gutiérrez logging 18 laps.

Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari was fastest in the first session, with his lap of 1:23.951 bettering last year’s pole-winning time for the Spanish Grand Prix by .73 of a second. The top-four drivers in FP1 – Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – posted a time that was faster than last year’s pole (1:24.681), set by Mercedes’ Rosberg.

The afternoon session (FP2) produced mixed results. Gutiérrez was held to nine laps due to an electronics issue with his car that developed after only 30 minutes of running. Grosjean made a total of 33 laps, but described his car as “very difficult to drive” during a 20-lap stint that included two pit stops – one to practice a tire change and the other to practice a nose change.

Grosjean’s best time was 1:25.899, earned on Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires just before the session’s 30-minute mark. It placed him 13th overall. Gutiérrez’s best time was 1:28.205, earned on Pirelli P Zero Orange hard tires during his opening, six-lap stint. It placed him 21st overall.

Rosberg topped the second session with a time of 1:23.922, which bettered Vettel’s quick time from FP1. Vettel was fourth-fastest (1:25.017) in FP2, but his Scuderia Ferrari teammate, Raikkonen, was .254 of a second behind Rosberg with the second-fastest time (1:24.176). All 22 drivers participated in FP2.

Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 77 laps – 50 by Grosjean and 27 by Gutiérrez.

Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team

“Not too easy a day. I struggled a bit with the higher track temperatures to get everything to work. It helps us to get the data from the winter testing now and see what we’ve done differently, which direction we took on the setup. We may revert on a few things we’ve done, as we’re not so happy with the car. It was good to get some mileage, but I think we realized the last setup change we made wasn’t as good as we were hoping. We’ll change that for tomorrow and hopefully have a better car.”

Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team

“It was very tricky driving in FP1, which I wasn’t expecting as the conditions were good. It was sunny and the wind was pretty low. I was expecting to have a clear feeling from the tires but, unfortunately, it wasn’t the case on the medium tire. FP2 was a little more complicated due to the wind, which is affecting the car quite a lot. Then we had an electrical issue, which prevented me from going back out on track. Once the team gets the car sorted, I’ll be ready to drive it as fast as possible. That’s what I love doing. We’ll work together as a team to put this car in the points.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

“We learned a lot today in FP1 and FP2 about the setup, what we need to do and where we maybe went in the wrong direction in the last two grand prix. Again, we are not where we want to be yet, but I think by tomorrow we’re getting closer to it.

“Romain’s car’s efforts were positive. Esteban missed track time once more. We got unlucky. We need to work harder to get lucky, to be honest. Whenever he was out on the track, Esteban did a good job. He showed again that he can do the job, but it’s now time that we come up with the goods so that he can prove it to the world.”

Next Up

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (11:00-12:00) before qualifying starts at 14:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 16 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.

This article contains: Spanish Grand Prix