Mercedes dominates, Verstappen stalks and Ferrari approaches

Bottas was the fastest of the day with his morning time, Hamilton commanded in the afternoon. The heat, an unknown in Montmeló. Carlos Sainz, eighth of the day.


He commanded Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas in the morning and Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon, but the heat will be a key factor to pay attention to, especially in the race, and the teams are on alert. Not all the drivers improved their times in the second practice session, the afternoon, and that is not usual in Formula 1. The soft Pirellis suffer and it will not be crazy who tries to qualify with the medium tire, or even the hard one, to start Sunday with a more durable rubber. The sun hits Montmeló, the sensors registered 48ºC on the asphalt. There were no fast laps on the second attempt, the rubber degrades quickly.

Max Verstappen signed the third time in the two tests, although he was not able to lower his morning lap either. Ricciardo sneaked in there with the Renault, in clear upward progression, and the two Ferraris with Leclerc ahead of Vettel, but separated by ten thousandths. The German responds to the chassis change that his team made after finding damage to the unit they used at Silverstone. Behind them, a surprising Romain Grosjean. At Haas they had spinach for breakfast.

Carlos Sainz made progress in the second round, he is one of the few who made it, and planted the McLaren with the seventh time of the session and the eighth of the day, ahead of the Racing Points and with a solid advantage of three tenths over his companion, perhaps excessive. Because in Spain the Madrilenian is always inspired and the performance of the Briton may be an indication of the real possibilities of the MCL35 this weekend. He also debuted a chassis to correct recent overheating issues.

And the long runs? For now, there are no weaknesses in Mercedes such as those that led to their defeat last Sunday in England. The problem they had then can be solved, although it is true that the Pirelli hard range is very hard, worth the redundancy, and the C1 compound is a rock. In any case, Red Bull already knows that it has pace to stalk the champions, although not on pole, and after its daring, no one doubts that they will try whatever it takes to differentiate themselves from the strategy of Hamilton and Bottas.

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