Spanish Grand Prix – Max Verstappen was once again the fastest in practice but, unlike earlier, this time he was within touching distance of his rivals.
After some very threatening clouds rocked up towards the end of the opening practice, FP2 got underway beneath glorious sunshine. Fernando Alonso was at the pit exit first but, as he stopped for a practice start, that meant Nyck de Vries was the first to onto the track and he started the session off with a 1:17.819 on the test tyres.
The Ferraris went straight out on the soft tyres and so it’s unsurprising that they were quickest after the first ten minutes had ticked past, Carlos Sainz just scraping into the 1:14s, with a 1:14.999, with Charles Leclerc six tenths back. Max Verstappen was P3, only half a tenth slower than Leclerc but the Red Bull driver set his time on the test tyres.
A few minutes later Verstappen put on the mediums to take over at the top with a 1:14.968. There were a few drivers reporting bouncing during the first session and that continued through to session two with George Russell being one of those affected. That wasn’t the only thing Russell had to deal with, he had to take avoiding action and a trip through the gravel after he came across Oscar Piastri going slowly around T10.
Pretty much everyone was on the softs and putting in fast laps as the session headed towards the halfway point. The Ferraris had retaken the top spots but a 1:13.907 from Verstappen and then a fantastic 1:14.177 lap from Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg saw them jump into P1 and P2 while Esteban Ocon wasn’t too much further back in P3.
Alonso joined the party just after the half hour, getting close being the second car in the 1:13s but he had to settle for P2 with a 1:14.077 on this occasion. That was the end of the flurry of fast laps before the teams went on to complete some long runs to see how the soft compound hold up.
Like earlier there weren’t any particularly dramatic moments during the session, and as the clock ticked down to the chequered flag there weren’t any faster times being set so Verstappen once again topped the timesheets, though this time he was only 0.170 seconds ahead of his closest challenger, Alonso.
Hulkenberg took a very strong P3 for Haas ahead of Sergio Perez. Ocon was P5 for Alpine with the Ferraris behind him, Leclerc a few hundredths quicker than Sainz. Russell finished the day in P8 with a 1:14.392 ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly. The top ten were covered by 0.550 seconds with the top 17 all within a second of each other.