Valtteri Bottas a dominat ambele sesiuni de antrenamente de Vineri

Finlandezul Valtteri Bottas a dominat ambele sesiuni de antrenamente de Vineri. Pilotul Mercedes a reușit cel mai bun timp al primei sesiuni,cu toate că a avut ceva probleme tehnice care l-au făcut să rateze finalul sesiunii. Problema a fost la sistemul hidraulic, inginerii săi confirmând că monopostul său pierdea ulei. Cert este că timpii să din prima parte a sesiunii nu au putu fi bătuți de rivalii de la Ferrari, care s-au clasat la aproximativ 1 zecime în spatele pilotului finlandez.

Lewis Hamilton a reușit doar al patrulea timp venind la aproape jumătate de secundă față de timpul coechipierului său.

În cea de-a doua sesiune lucrurile au stat la fel pentru Bottas care din nou a reușit cel mai bun timp 1,17,284, numai că de această dată în spatele său a venit Lewis Hamilton , care a reușit să-i devanseze pe piloții de la Ferrari. Locul 5 i-a aparținut lui Max Verstappen, pilotul Red Bull fiind cu aproape 7 zecimi mai lent decât Bottas

Romain Grosjean a profitat de un nou pachet aerodinamic pus pe mașina sa și a reușit un loc 6. Nu de același tratament a avut parte și colegul său Magnussen care a terminat pe 8. Pe 7 s-a clasat cea de-a doua mașină Red Bull pilotată de Pierre Gasly . În primii 10 au mai intrat Carlos Sainz și Daniil Kvyat . Ultima sesiune de antrenamente libere va avea loc azi .

Power Unit Update for Ferrari Ahead of Schedule in Spain

Ferrari may have had a poor start to the season, but they are throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at trying to catch rivals Mercedes, winners of the first four races. First they introduced a new aerodynamic update in Baku. Now they’ve brought forward a power unit upgrade planned for Canada in time for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The race in Barcelona, the curtain raiser for the European leg of the season, traditionally sees teams bring their first major aerodynamic package updates of the year. The close proximity of the venue to most of the teams’ factories means they can push deadlines tighter to get parts to the track.

Traditionally, engine manufacturers wait until Canada – race seven of the calendar – to introduce a new power unit, as any extra power will be of benefit there. It is also a third of the way through the season and therefore the natural point to fit a fresh engine, of which they are allowed three per year without penalty.

So it’s quite a move from Ferrari to bring a new specification power unit to Spain, two races ahead of schedule, in addition to more chassis improvements.

A power unit change this early means Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc must now last 17 races with two units of the latest specification or revert to spec one, which is likely, for less-power dependent races such as Monaco, Hungary and Singapore.

“We are currently behind in the championship and we have to catch up, which we know means that our development work will be the key to this season,” said Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto. “Having brought a new aerodynamic package to Baku, we will also bring some developments in this area to Barcelona.

“On top of that, we will have a new power unit that we are introducing ahead of schedule, as the second specification was due to be brought to Canada.

“Shell, in close collaboration with our team, has developed a different formulation of race lubricant that will also be introduced with the new power unit, delivering increased performance.

“It’s only down to a big team effort with everyone pushing hard to make up ground that we have been able to bring these developments forward.”

Ferrari trail Mercedes by 74 points (a tally that equates to almost three race victories) in the constructors’ championship heading into round 5. This time last year, they led Mercedes by four points, but left Spain behind after Lewis Hamilton took victory. A reversal of that result this year would be the ideal tonic for the Italian team, who will feel they could have scored two victories this year with better fortunes.

The Unstoppable


Lewis Hamilton needed no luck at the Spanish Grand Prix to secure his second triumph in a row, the Briton cruising to victory with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas second and Max Verstappen bringing his damaged Red Bull home for P3. It was a straightforward afternoon for the world championship leader, but the race got off to a crazy start…

Pole-sitter Hamilton controlled proceedings from the start, which saw three drivers wiped out of the race at Turn 3 when the Haas of Romain Grosjean spun – causing a huge fog of smoke – before collecting Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly along the way.

Hamilton kept out of trouble, though, ultimately finishing an impressive 20s ahead of Bottas to lead the first Mercedes one-two of the season, as Verstappen held his nerve to keep Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at bay. The other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo endured a lonely finale, coming home in fifth, while Haas secured a brilliant P6 with Kevin Magnussen.

The Spanish faithful at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will go home happy too, with local heroes Carlos Sainz, who sealed seventh with Renault, and eighth-placed Fernando Alonso in the McLaren securing vital points for their respective teams. And it was another memorable points finish for Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who came tenth behind Force India’s Sergio Perez.

The frenetic start saw Hamilton lead away from pole, with Vettel taking advantage of the slipstream to move on the outside of Bottas into Turn 1 to take second. The Red Bull pair of Verstappen and Ricciardo also kept their noses clean, but carnage occurred behind them.

As the car of team mate Magnussen struggled for grip immediately ahead of him, an unsettled Grosjean lost control of his Haas around Turn 3, spinning out of control before taking out the unfortunate pair of Hulkenberg and Gasly, ending all their races on lap 1.

Amid the chaos – which led to an immediate Safety Car period – Lance Stroll managed to climb from 18th to 12th on the opening lap for Williams and Leclerc also took advantage of his rivals’ misfortune by moving up to ninth.

When normal conditions resumed, Alonso, who had lost a few places at the start, gave his home fans something to cheer about by driving spectacularly around the outside of Esteban Ocon, muscling past the Frenchman to move back into the top ten.

While there was plenty of action going on behind him, Hamilton was quietly going about his business – extending his lead over Vettel to 6.5s after lap 15. His team mate Bottas was doing his best to try and reclaim his P2, but couldn’t get within DRS range of the Ferrari.

And then Ferrari rolled the dice on lap 18, pitting Vettel first for medium tyres and he rejoined in seventh. So would Mercedes react with Bottas? Indeed, a lap later they followed suit, but a slightly slow pit stop proved costly and the Finn agonisingly came out behind the German.

At this stage, Red Bull’s pair were not only keeping out of trouble, they were hot on the heels of second-placed Raikkonen in the Ferrari. The Finn was struggling with a power issue and Verstappen moved ahead with ease, before Ricciardo replicated the move – and Ferrari were forced to end Raikkonen’s day early.

Mercedes called Hamilton in on lap 25, again switching the soft tyre compound for the mediums and the reigning world champion rejoined in P2 between the two Red Bulls – both of whom at this stage were yet to pit.

A change of strategy perhaps for Red Bull then? They kept them out for a while on the softs before eventually pitting both in quick succession – with Verstappen coming out ahead of Ricciardo – allowing Hamilton to regain his lead on lap 35, and the Briton now led Vettel by 10s with team mate Bottas back in P3.

Behind the leaders, there were plenty of squabbles. Leclerc, running in P8, was proving to be a stubborn opponent for Alonso.

And then the Grand Prix took another twist when Ocon’s Force India came to a halt at Turn 4, ending his race and bringing the Virtual Safety Car out. All the top three teams were seemingly heading towards a one-stop strategy, but this threw a spanner in the works.

Vettel’s rubber was 22 laps old at this point, and Ferrari didn’t want to take the risk – but they were unlucky with the timing of this stop. Force India also brought Perez in, and the Prancing Horse were forced to hold the German in his bay while the Mexican went past, with their man eventually rejoining the track behind Bottas and Verstappen.

Red Bull’s Dutch star was then involved in a bizarre incident as the VSC restart approached, damaging his front wing after lightly hitting the rear of Stroll’s Williams – but with him running in P3 and the damage not proving critical, he opted to stay out on track.

As McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne became the sixth casualty to retire, Hamilton’s lead over his Mercedes team mate Bottas was 17s. He won’t get many easier afternoons in Barcelona, that’s for sure.

So with the Briton seemingly coasting to back-to-back victories – and a third win at this track – it was all about the action behind him, and whether Vettel could take advantage of Verstappen’s hurt Red Bull.

He couldn’t. The Dutchman kept his cool for a first podium finish of the season – a much-needed result following an incident-packed start to the 2018 campaign, which included his clash with Ricciardo last time out in Baku.

Hamilton’s victory means he now leads Vettel by 17 points in the drivers’ standings, having leapfrogged his rival after Azerbaijan, with Bottas 20 behind the Ferrari man in third.

A one-two was the perfect result for Mercedes, who dominated every session here in Barcelona – and they are now ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

Red Bull will certainly be chuffed too, securing their third Spanish GP podium in a row, but Ferrari have plenty to think about after Raikkonen’s DNF and a potential second-placed finish for Vettel slipping away.

“I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team. Today the car and myself, I felt that synergy today, which I haven’t felt this year. This is when we’re going to start to continue to apply the pressure. We have the Mercedes board with us, it’s great to have them here, for them to see that force in the team – the strength and depth. You can only take it one race at a time. This weekend, we got ourselves on the right path. The team did an exceptional job. I didn’t know what the pace would be.” – Lewis Hamilton