Mercedes duo is on the heels of Leclerc!

( – Charles Leclerc dominated the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday, setting the best time in both free practice sessions in Barcelona. After 1: 19,828 minutes in FT1, he was able to improve to 1: 19,670 minutes in FT2, which put the two Mercedes drivers George Russell (+0.117) and Lewis Hamilton (+0.204) in second place.

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari seem to be taking advantage of the new updates


That Mercedes is so far ahead comes as a surprise after the season so far. However, the team is heading to Miami again with an update. This time, among other things, the undercarriage and the front plate’s end plate are new. Similar to the top favorites Ferrari and Red Bull, which have also updated the chassis and parts of the wings.

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

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And the Mercedes updates seem to have an effect: “The car looked a little calmer for the driver who came into the corner, better to control,” notes ‘ORF’ expert Alexander Wurz. “It was a shortcoming they had due to the loss of grip from that ‘jump’.”

Wurz continues: “I believe that Red Bull and Ferrari definitely have the opportunity to experience pole position here. But Russell’s and Hamilton’s strong times at the same time on the track, that’s a nice announcement.”

Hamilton: Big smile on his face

Hamilton could not help but smile after the session: “Positive. I am super happy with the progress. A big thank you to everyone at the factory! We are not the fastest yet. It was the first time I was on straight Did not have any ‘bounce “It’s not quite gone yet, but it’s much better than before.”

Local hero Carlos Sainz finished fourth, 0.320 seconds behind his Ferrari team-mate in P1. The Spaniard was even a little slower in the second practice than in the first. Max Verstappen finished fifth, 0.336s behind Leclerc, but 0.197s ahead of Fernando Alonso (6./Alpine), the second Spaniard in the field.

Verstappen was not completely satisfied after the training: “It is difficult to find the right balance in the heat. The long runs were okay, I am 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 stays stable, it makes it a little easier.”

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

It was eagerly awaited to see how Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll would fare in the revamped Aston Martin, which Helmut Marko criticizes as a clumsy copy of the Red Bull RB18. Vettel finished 16th in the first practice, but was able to move up to number eight early in the evening. Bag Verstappen: 0.697 seconds. Stroll was number 13.

The session was less than ten minutes old when Valtteri Bottas stopped at the start and finish without moving forward. “Something is broken,” he told the Alfa Romeo box. First suspicion of ‘ORF’ expert Alexander Wurz: “Engine.” For Bottas, Friday afternoon was over after just three innings.

There were also technical issues with McLaren, the team with the most updates (ten changes reported to the FIA ​​ahead of eight from Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo). Lando Norris was only able to complete six laps because he damaged the undercarriage as he drove over the curb at turn 9. He finished as number 20 and last; Daniel Ricciardo finished 15th in FT2.

Günther Steiner roser Mick Schumacher

By the way: The only team that came to Barcelona without any updates is Haas. Despite this, Mick Schumacher (+1,087) finished in tenth place and Kevin Magnussen (+1,343) in twelfth place in the second free training session. Team manager Günther Steiner had already stated before the session that he would wait and see if the other teams really made progress with their updates.

Many updates! Timo Glock explains McLaren and Mercedes’ changes

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

A tactic that seems to work even though Steiner is aware: “One should not praise the day before tonight. It looks good at the moment, I am satisfied. But the qualification is tomorrow.” He is also pleased with Schumacher’s good performance in the ‘ORF’ interview: “You can see Mick making progress. It’s great to see.”

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