The fifth round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya as teams prepared for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track were run under sunny and comfortable, albeit windy, conditions.
Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen ran identical programs in FP1 – an installation lap on Pirelli P Zero White medium tires followed by a baseline stint on that same set of mediums. Yellow soft tires were used to complete the session, with each driver making two runs, staying on their respective sets of softs for both.
Grosjean’s quick time of 1:19.906 came on his 16th lap with his Haas VF-18 using softs. He ran 24 laps and was the eighth-fastest driver. Magnussen’s best time was a 1:20.637 earned on his 10th lap, but his was set on mediums. Magnussen ran 28 laps and posted the 11th-quickest time.
Leading the way in FP1 was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, whose fast lap of 1:18.148 was .849 of a second better than the next quickest driver, Lewis Hamilton, who is Bottas’ teammate.
Grosjean and Magnussen increased their pace in FP2. Grosjean ended the session as the seventh-quickest driver. His time of 1:19.579 was .327 of a second better than his best lap in FP1. Even more impressive was that it came with limited track time, as Grosjean spun into the gravel at turn seven approximately 10 minutes into FP2. Despite missing nearly 40 minutes of running, Grosjean made the most of his return to the track, logging a total of 24 laps and scoring his fast time on his 11th tour.
Magnussen followed right behind his teammate as the eighth-fastest driver. He knocked .994 of a second from his FP1 time with a lap of 1:19.643. His quick time came on the 14th of his 39 laps.
The two drivers earned their fast laps while carrying out different programs. Grosjean began the session on mediums where he ran four laps before the excursion into the gravel. He returned to the track on Red supersofts, running two stints on the softest tire made available by Pirelli for the Spanish Grand Prix. Magnussen started FP2 on softs, running two stints before switching to supersofts, where he performed two more stints. Magnussen culminated his FP2 running with a 13-lap drive on softs. Both Haas F1 Team drivers earned their quick times in FP2 on supersofts.
Mercedes remained atop FP2, but it was Hamilton who proved quickest. His fast lap of 1:18.259 was .133 of a second faster than his nearest pursuer, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull. And after being fastest in FP1, Bottas was fifth quick in FP2, .352 of a second arrears Hamilton.
Bottas’ quick time in FP1 set a new track record, which broke the previous record by .89 of a second, set last year by Hamilton in the final round of qualifying. However, the fastest unofficial lap still belongs to Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who set a time of 1:17.182 on March 8 during the penultimate day of preseason testing.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 115 laps – 67 by Magnussen and 48 by Grosjean.