F1 – Hamilton sets the pace in second practice in Barcelona ahead of home hero Sainz and Norris


Lewis Hamilton went quickest in the second practice session for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Spanish  Grand Prix, beating home favourite Carlos Sainz by just over two hundredths of a second as FP1’s fastest driver, Lando Norris, took third place. 

In the early phases of the second hour of practice, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell led the way on Medium tyres, moving a tenth of a second clear of Norris who had set an early target time of 1:14.197.

Further back, championship leader Max Verstappen was unhappy with the handling of his Red Bull car, reporting that the RB20 felt loose on exits and hampered by understeer in mid-corner. "This car doesn't bite," he told his pit wall. 

The switch to red-walled Soft compound Pirelli tyres arrived just before the session’s midpoint and it was Williams’ Logan Sargeant who sparked the field into qualifying simulations. In the opening stages the American had posted a best time of 1:16.748 on Hard tyres, but when he jumped two stages softer he improved by 1.7s to rise to seventh on the timesheet thanks to a lap of  1:15.070. Sargeant’s team-mate Alex Albon then moved to Soft tyres and took P6 with a lap of 1:14.807. 

Sainz was the first of the frontrunners to switch to Softs and he jumped to P1 with a lap of 1:13.286. The Spaniard’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc was unable to match that time and the Monegasque driver slotted into second, 0.311s down on Sainz, Norris the shunted Leclerc back to third by putting his car just 0.033s behind Sainz. 

Verstappen, more comfortable after tweaks to his car, set the best first and third sectors with his first flyer on Softs, but the Dutchman lost three tenths of a second in the middle sector and found himself in P3. Hamilton then fired his Mercedes to the top, posting a lap of 1:13.264 to take P1 just two hundredths clear of Sainz's earlier effort.

With the field then moving to longer runs, Sainz and Norris were locked into second and third respectively, with just 0.055s covering the top three. However, Verstappen’s sluggish middle sector left him vulnerable and he was edged out to fifth by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly. 

Leclerc ended the session in sixth place, ahead of the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri who finished seventh ahead of Russell. Esteban Ocon added to Alpine’s good session with the ninth fastest time, and the top 10 order was rounded out by Kick Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas. 

2024 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1  Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:13.264  28 228.832
2  Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:13.286 0.022 30 228.764
3  Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:13.319 0.055 31 228.661
4  Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1:13.443 0.179 27 228.274
5  Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:13.504 0.240 29 228.085
6  Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:13.597 0.333 22 227.797
7  Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1:13.622 0.358 28 227.719
8  George Russell Mercedes 1:13.722 0.458 28 227.411
9  Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:13.766 0.502 30 227.275
10  Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1:13.924 0.660 30 226.789
11  Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:14.021 0.757 32 226.492
12  Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1:14.053 0.789 29 226.394
13  Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:14.081 0.817 23 226.309
14  Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:14.091 0.827 28 226.278
15  Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1:14.211 0.947 31 225.912
16  Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1:14.257 0.993 29 225.772
17  Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1:14.345 1.081 21 225.505
18  Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:14.402 1.138 28 225.332
19  Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:14.807 1.543 34 224.112
20  Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:15.070 1.806 33 223.327