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Hamilton takes over at top in Spain

08.05.15
HAMILTON TAKES OVER AT TOP IN SPAIN

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took over at the top of the timesheets in Barcelona beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just over four tenths of a second in second practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, finished third, almost eight tenths of a second behind his Mercedes team-mate. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second Ferrari.

In the first half an hour of the afternoon session, on hard tyres, it was Hamilton who held sway, with a lap time of 1:27.826 ahead of Rosberg and Vettel.

That phase was interrupted about 15 minutes in when Romain Grosjean’s engine cover became dislodged, scattering large chunks of debris across the track. A brief red flag period ensued and after another spell on the hard compound Pirellis, it was the Ferrari drivers who first made the move to medium tyres for a performance run.

Vettel jumped to the top of the timesheet, his time of 1:27.260 beating out team-mate Raikkonen by 0.520. The Finn complained of poor front and rear grip on the hard tyres and later tetchily asked if he could do a run on the mediums.

Rosberg was the next bolt on the option tyres but he couldn’t eclipse Vettel’s time and after a run that left him more than three tenths adrift of Vettel he complained of getting "rejected downshifts" into Turn One.

It was left to Hamilton to restore normal order at the top and he delivered purple times in all three sectors to put in a time of 1:26.852. He was the only driver in the session to dip under the 1m26s bracket.

The run, however was slower than Rosberg’s P1 time from the morning, suggesting that the 50 degree Celsius track temperatures seen in the afternoon were making things difficult for the tyres.

Daniil Kvyat claimed a useful fifth place for Red Bull Racing with a time of 1:27.943, a second down on Hamilton’s time. Again, though, it was a troubled session for team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. After problems in the morning that restricted him to just nine laps he remained garage-bound for the bulk of the afternoon session as his team effected an engine change on his car. He eventually joined the action in the closing stages of the session but could only manage the 13th-fastest time with a lap of 1:29.098, 2.2s down on Hamilton.

Behind Kvyat, Max Verstappen continued Toro Rosso’s good form with a time of 1:28.017, which put him sixth ahead of Jenson Button, the McLaren driver delivering a surprisingly competitive medium tyre run that left half a second off Verstappen and 1.6s behind Hamilton. Button’s team-mate Fernando Alonso settled for 11th place just over two tenths back from the Briton.

After a typically low key morning, Williams continued their steady work with Valtteri Bottas in eighth place and Felipe Massa tenth. Ninth place went to the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.

After extensive repairs, Grosjean managed to return to the fray in the final 20 minutes of the session, on medium tyres, and his performance run jumped him to P12 ahead of Ricciardo.

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was 14th ahead of the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. Then came Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, though Hulkenberg was told later in the seassion that the team’s pace on the hard tyre was better than Sauber’s. The field was backed up by the Manor cars of Wills Stevens and Roberto Merhi.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.852s – 26
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.260s 0.408s 37
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.616s 0.764s 35
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.780s 0.928s 36
5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:27.943s 1.091s 25
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:28.017s 1.165s 32
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:28.494s 1.642s 31
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:28.525s 1.673s 39
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:28.674s 1.822s 31
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:28.712s 1.860s 36
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:28.723s 1.871s 28
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:29.086s 2.234s 14
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:29.098s 2.246s 4
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:29.217s 2.365s 34
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:29.333s 2.481s 37
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:29.361s 2.509s 34
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:29.601s 2.749s 38
18 Sergio Perez Force India 1:29.707s 2.855s 35
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:31.929s 5.077s 30
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:32.751s 5.899s 23