Mercedes in front again in final practice for Spanish Grand Prix

Dean Simpson
May 13, 2018

The Mercedes driver took the championship lead after he inherited a win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, went out with a puncture in the dying laps.

"We've got a lot of work to do for tomorrow, it'll be a tough race, but it's a good way to start the weekend". "It is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can't really say who is quickest at the moment".

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Lewis Hamilton set a track record on Saturday to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. Mercedes and Red Bull appeared to have improved the most, although Ferrari usually shows its best pace in qualifying and in the race.

"Let's hope we have the same trust as in Baku where I could get everything out of the auto when I had to", he added. Before, it was quite hard for us to look at the cars behind. "Unfortunately, mine was costly enough to miss the last hour of that session".

"We think this race could probably be a real signature race for us on the schedule", he added.


Ferrari and Mercedes will wait for today's qualifying to show their hand but the sight of smoke billowing out of the back of Kimi Raikkonen's auto before the Finn coasted back to the pits ensured a busy night for Ferrari's mechanics.

"Really, very good. Both cars couldn't have done a better job".

"I know Miami quite well and there are some better locations to put the track". Magnussen will start alongside Fernando Alonso on row four after the pair were separated by 0.045s, with Carlos Sainz ninth and Romain Grosjean tenth.

Williams' woes continued with test driver Robert Kubica, taking part in his first grand prix practice session since Abu Dhabi in 2010, savaging their auto. The new record of 1:16.173 may go unbeaten for several years as 2019's regulation changes are expected to make the cars 1.5s slower.

Kubica was 19th in 1:21.510, but quicker than his Canadian teenager teammate Lance Stroll who was 20th after a trip into the gravel. Sergei Sirotkin was back in the vehicle for the afternoon run.


Hartley brought the on-track action to a premature end after losing the rear of his vehicle at the fast Turn 9 right-hander with a couple of minutes remaining. Vehicle balance, I'm reasonably happy.

Many other drivers also struggled to keep their cars on the track, most of the time because of windy conditions.

When it is like that you are arriving at each corner and the wind direction is never the same. Bottas and Vettel also spun but were able to continue their runs without significant damage.

The virtual safety vehicle was deployed in the morning when Ricciardo's auto ran across the gravel and into the barriers.

Hamilton tested a set of super-softs before the session ended with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren, Frenchman Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso, the Force India pairing of Frenchman Esteban Ocon and Mexican Sergio Perez, and Frenchman Charles Leclerc of Sauber eliminated from the final round.


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