Spanish Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap

Event:  Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2)

Date:  Friday, May 11

Location:  Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya  

Layout:  4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track

FP1 Weather:  Sunny

FP1 Air Temps:  20-22.4 degrees Celsius (68-72.3 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP1 Track Temps:  31.6-38.2 degrees Celsius (88.9-100.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Weather:  Sunny

FP2 Air Temps:  23.6-24.9 degrees Celsius (74.5-76.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Track Temps:  42.2-44.3 degrees Celsius (108-111.7 degrees Fahrenheit)

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen

Grosjean:  8th quick (1:19.906), 24 laps completed

Magnussen:  11th quick (1:20.637), 28 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:18.148)

Most Laps:  Sergio Perez of Force India (36 laps)

Grosjean:  7th quick (1:19.579), 24 laps completed

Magnussen:  8th quick (1:19.643), 39 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:18.259)

Most Laps:  Nico Hulkenberg of Renault (43 laps)

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.

“It was an okay day. It was pretty good in terms of performance and classification. It was tricky with the wind, but we’ve been working with different setups – some are more positive, others a bit trickier. Generally, the car feels pretty good. I’m hopeful we’re going to make it even better for tomorrow and be able to go a bit faster. We’re looking into what we can do, and we’ve got some ideas. We tried some things that we’ve never tried before – they worked in some aspects, but not in others. We’ll change those and make sure the car’s a bit easier on the entry into the corners to be able to push a bit more.”

“Good day today. Happy about the car performance. A few things to improve tomorrow but, generally, I think we are looking quite strong.”

“We had two good sessions, but not completely trouble-free. Romain went off at the beginning of FP2, but we recovered the car and we got it ready to go out again. Everyone did a fantastic job. We’ve learned a lot and now we’re ready for tomorrow.”

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (12:00-13:00 local time) before qualifying starts at 15:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 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