Subdued Hamilton tops charts in 2nd practice

On his way to claiming pole Hamilton set a new track record at the recently resurfaced Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Updates with qualifying. Will be updated.

On Thursday, Miami officials voted in favor of a Formula One proposal that would have the city host a Grand Prix on its downtown streets some time next year. Hamilton was ten seconds in front of his team-mate by the time they were a third into the race, and just continued extending that advantage.

"We've definitely got a lot of work still to do", said Hamilton, who leads Vettel by four points in the standings, after the race through the streets of Baku.

Raikkonen was a further 0.307 seconds slower than his teammate and ahead of the Red Bull-Renaults of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

"It was straightforward [to go back to softs] because I had such a good feeling in Q2", he added. On the outside of Turn 3, Magnussen lost a bit of grip and had a wobble, forcing Haas teammate Grosjean into evasive action. If you win here, you have a good cushion for the next couple of races so for me it's important both Mercedes are there.

Grosjean is a man coming under increasing pressure after a poor start to the season and TV cameras showed him sitting disconsolate on the side of the race track before returning to the paddock.

All were unhurt, although Grosjean had to go to the medical centre for a precautionary check because the incident triggered the high impact alert in the vehicle.

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have all brought revised cars to this weekend's race with the opening European round of the season traditionally kick-starting the development war.

"It was a really good qualifying".

Although McLaren aimed to be with the top teams in 2018, the Spaniard said the auto is actually "1.8 to 2 seconds behind". "So that's a positive thing".

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was outqualified by his team-mate Sainz for the first time this year.

Raikkonen was on a new engine after a problem with the one he used on Friday.

Ferrari meanwhile caught the eye with wing mirrors mounted on the halo head protection device as an experiment.

Pirelli reduced the tread depth of its tyres by 0.4mm for the event due to fears over blistering at the circuit, a tactic it has also employed for this year's Grands Prix in France and Britain.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso was not among the runners following his huge accident at the end of final practice, which left the rear end of his auto wrecked after spinning into the barriers at high speed. The rear end fell apart as the auto was being hoisted by a crane. He did not take part in qualifying and will start from the back of the grid. He will run the softs during final practice on Saturday morning.

Formula 1 Chairman Chase Carey said Wednesday at a Liberty Media conference call with analysts he expected and felt the race would happen.

  • Julie Sanders