Mercedes duo on the heels of Leclerc!

(Motorsport-Total.com) — Charles Leclerc on Friday dominated the Spanish Grand Prix and set the best time in each of Barcelona’s free practice sessions. After 1:19,988 minutes in FT1, he managed to improve to 1:19,770 minutes in FT2, putting Mercedes drivers George Russell (+0.117) and Lewis Hamilton (+0.204) second.

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari seem to be benefiting from the new updates

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The fact that Mercedes is on top so far is a bit of a surprise after the course of the season so far. However, the team will go to Miami again with an update. This time, among other things, the lower part of the chassis and the front wing end plate became new. Similar to the top favorites Ferrari and Red Bull, who also updated the lower part of the chassis and parts of the wings.

The surprise at Mercedes’ strong level is limited by competition: “I’ve said all year long that it’s only a matter of time before they get their problems under control,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

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And Mercedes’ updates seem to have an effect: “The car seemed quieter to the driver entering the corner, and it was better to control it,” notes Alexander Wurz, an “ORF” expert. “This was a disadvantage for them due to the loss of control over that recoil.”

Wirz continues: “I think Red Bull and Ferrari definitely have a chance to try first here. But the strong times for Russell and Hamilton, at the same time on the track, is a good announcement.”

Hamilton: A big smile on his face

Hamilton couldn’t help but smile after the session: “Positive. I’m very happy with the progress. Many thanks to everyone in the factory! We’re not the fastest yet. It was my first time running straight he didn’t have any ‘rebound’. It’s not completely gone yet. But it’s much better than before.”

Local champion Carlos Sainz finished fourth, 0.320sec behind his Ferrari teammate in P1. The Spaniard was a little slower in the second practice than in the first. Max Verstappen was fifth, 0.336sec behind Leclerc but 0.197sec behind Fernando Alonso (6th/Alpine), the second Spaniard on the field.

Verstappen wasn’t completely satisfied after training: “It’s hard to find the right balance in the heat. The long run was good, I’m satisfied with that. We still have to work on the individual laps,” he says. “Now we have to find the happy medium. At least the weather remains stable, and that makes it a little easier.”

Vettel: How did it go with the “Green Red Bull”?

He has been eagerly waiting to see how Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will perform in the revamped Aston Martin, which Helmut Marko has criticized as a clumsy version of the Red Bull RB18. Vettel finished 16th in the first practice session, but managed to climb to eighth in the early evening. Behind Verstappen: 0.697 seconds. The hike is over 13.

The session was less than ten minutes long when Valtteri Bottas stopped at the start and finish without moving forward. “Something is broken,” he said on the radio to the Alfa Romeo box. First suspicion of “ORF” expert Alexander Wars: “Motor”. For Bottas, Friday afternoon was over after just three laps.

There were also technical problems at McLaren, the team that got the most updates (the FIA ​​had been informed of ten changes before eight from Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo). Lando Norris was only able to complete six laps because he damaged the lower body when riding over the curb in Turn 9. He finished 20th and last. Daniel Ricciardo finished 15th in the FT2 Championship.

Gunther Steiner praises Mick Schumacher

By the way: The only team that came to Barcelona without any updates is Haas. Despite this, Mick Schumacher (+1.087) finished 10th and Kevin Magnussen (+1.343) finished 12th in the second freestyle session. Team boss Gunther Steiner had already said before the session that he wanted to wait and see if the other teams were really making progress with their updates.


Numerous updates! Timo Glock explains the changes to McLaren and Mercedes

For the weekend in Barcelona there were extensive updates for some teams. Timo Glock with analysis during the first training session.

A tactic that seems to work, even if Steiner is aware: “You shouldn’t be complimenting the day before the evening. It looks good at the moment, I’m satisfied. But qualifying tomorrow.” He is also pleased with Schumacher’s good performance in the “ORF” interview: “You can see that Mick is making progress. It’s good to see that.”

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