Second free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix topped by Nico Rosberg.
On the back of a morning session where Ferrari claimed a one-two finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Mercedes responded by lapping fastest overall by two tenths. Rosberg’s time ensured one Silver Arrow finished the day ahead of a Prancing Horse, as problems hit teams across the paddock.
Running in Spain was under the threat of rain showers in Barcelona. However those showers failed to present themselves across the 90-minutes, leaving the red flag to stop the session.
Jolyon Palmer had sat out the opening practice session as Esteban Ocon stepped into his Renault for the session. Even if he was only able to complete a handful of laps before an issue ended his season debut. 10-minutes into FP2 though, with Jolyon in the car, a tyre blowout under high load down the pit straight saw Palmer forced to park up.
When the session restarted, flying laps were beginning to unfold. With Fernando Alonso taking a surprising lead, before Hamilton pushed the home favourite out of the top spot. The home favourite’s team-mate on the other hand was rolling down the pit lane after the Honda power unit in Button’s McLaren cut out.
McLaren though were able to send Jenson back out shortly after. With Button running the soft tyres, he was able to edge ahead of Grosjean for 12th as Romain continued to complain about his Haas, groaning that the car was “very, very, very difficult to drive”. Romain later referred to his Haas as being “undriveable”, before exclaiming “say what you want but I think we have ****** up somewhere”.
Jolyon too was able to return to the track once his car had been returned to the pitlane and Renault were able to repair the damage to his floor. With his first flyer, Palmer moved up to 19th place.
At the other end of the leaderboard, Rosberg was leading a Ferrari-Hamilton sandwich, with one second splitting the four drivers. Early laps in FP2 had seen Hamilton’s medium tyre pace overtake Alonso before Raikkonen – on the soft compound – went fastest overall.
Rosberg on the softs however moved the championship leader into the top position with the fastest lap of the weekend so far, despite being down on Kimi through the first sector.
Hamilton’s first flyer on the soft compound saw Rosberg and Kimi’s positions in the top two come unchallenged as Lewis hit traffic in the final sector. The seven tenth deficit Lewis left himself with on Rosberg was also in part down to his lap being far from optimal.