Lewis Hamilton looked poised to continue his dominance of the Spanish Grand Prix after clocking the fastest time during the second practice session on Friday.
Formula One leader Hamilton had a flying lap of 1 minute, 18.170 seconds. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was .139 seconds behind Hamilton after the Finn set the fastest time in the first practice session. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, seen as the main challenger to Hamilton’s reign as world champion, finished only ninth fastest at .615 off the pace. Verstappen missed some time on the track while his team worked on the car, and his last lap was cut short when he damaged the right tip of his front wing.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had the third-best time, followed by Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, who is back in Spain for his first race since 2018.
Only eight points separate Hamilton from Verstappen at the top of the standings after they finished 1-2 in the first three races.
Hamilton won the season-opener in Bahrain and last week’s race in Portugal. Verstappen won the season’s second race in Italy.
On Saturday, Hamilton will be aiming for his 100th career pole.
On Sunday, he will be looking to equal Michael Schumacher’s six wins in Montmelo.