George Russell finished in second place just 0.117s behind Charles Leclerc in Practice Two, with Lewis Hamilton third; Mercedes brought upgrades to Barcelona which seem to have reduced their porpoising Live Spanish GP coverage resumes on Saturday on Sky Sports F1
Last Updated: 20/05/22 8:00pm
A beaming Lewis Hamilton said he was “super happy” with Mercedes’ start to the Spanish GP as he hailed much-needed progress in Friday’s practice sessions after debuting upgrades on their W13 car.
The eight-time Constructors’ champions have been struggling with porpoising throughout the whole season and had targeted Spain as the Grand Prix at which some potential upgrades could hopefully change their fortunes.
With a raft of changes including a new floor, Mercedes had minimal bouncing on the straights, while George Russell finished second and Hamilton third at the end of practice two, just behind Charles Leclerc.
It was a rare day of positivity for Hamilton in the 2022 F1 season and he could not hide his optimism after finally finding some speed in his car.
“It was positive, I am super happy with the progress so a big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up and continuing to push,” said Hamilton.
“We are not the quickest yet but we are on our way.
“That is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing.
“We still have some bouncing but it is way better so we are starting to eek in a bit of the potential in the car.
“It is still tough out there with the car but it is much nicer than it has been before.
“I am really grateful for those upgrades and now we just need to fine-tune them.
“We need to get into the data overnight and I think we can get it into an even better pace for tomorrow so hopefully we can tackle the heels of the guys up ahead.”
Although he finished ahead of Hamilton, his team-mate Russell was much more cautious with his expectations for the W13, highlighting that he had finished Friday in Miami at the top of the timesheet but then struggled throughout Qualifying.
Indeed, for Russell, it is the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez that should still be considered the ones to beat over the course of the weekend.
“I don’t know to be honest because in Miami we were quickest on Friday and obviously here we are second so let’s see,” said Russell.
“The car is definitely reacting differently and we have different limitations this time.
“We definitely don’t have the porpoising in the straight but we are experiencing a bit here and there in the corners which means you need to dial it out in the corners and Red Bull still look very, very strong.
“They (Red Bull) look the team to be reckoned with at the moment and we need to go through the data.
“I see no reason why we can’t be as far away from the front or a little bit closer (in qualifying) but there is power modes and stuff.
“Ferrari and Red Bull were in their lowest power mode so they have a bit on us there so I don’t know, it is tricky.
“Degradation was massive for everybody and that is what is going to make or break this race on Sunday so that is what we will focus on tonight.”
Wolff: Progress but not exuberance and ecstasy
Hamilton wasn’t the only member of the Mercedes team who was happy with the progress made from the upgrades brought to Barcelona, Team Principal Toto Wolff echoing Hamilton’s thanks to Mercedes’ engineers.
He added: “It is great to see that we have so many fans and especially so many keen fans.
“Both companies have worked so hard. Brixworth has really gained land against the other power unit manufacturers and it is fantastic to see and I am really proud.
“Then on the chassis side, we are getting there. We had another really solid Friday like we did in Miami.
“We just have to see when the grid keeps coming tomorrow whether we can keep that kind of performance and at least be in the mix or solid in the top three.
“It is better but still not that the drivers feel comfortable in the high speed.
“Turn 3 and Turn 9, we are losing a lot so we just need to find what we are going to do there tomorrow.
“Progress but not exuberance and ecstasy.”
Sky Sports F1’s Spanish GP schedule
Saturday, May 21
9.55am: Formula 3 sprint race
11.45am: Spanish GP Practice Three (Session starts at 12pm)
1.20pm: W Series Race
2.25pm: Spanish GP Qualifying Build-Up
3pm: SPANISH GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING
4.35pm: Formula 2 sprint race
5.35pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
Sunday, May 22
9am: Formula 3 feature race
10.35am: Formula 2 feature race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Spain
2pm: THE SPANISH GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag: Spain
5pm: Ted’s Notebook
6pm: Spanish GP Highlights