Spanish GP: Free Practice

An update from Free Practice at the Spanish Grand Prix as the Bulls get up and running at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the fifth round of the 2018 season.

Clear blue skies greeted the Team as they returned to the familiar surroundings of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix. 

In Free Practice One, Max took P4 with a 1:19.187 from his 26 laps of early Friday running. Team-mate Daniel was P7 for the session with a 1:19.871, despite being limited to 11 laps after an off at T4 that damaged the car and therefore ended his running in FP1. 

Topping the timesheet for the session was Valtteri Bottas with a 1:18.148.

In Free Practice Two, a best time of 1:18.392 was good enough to put Daniel P2 for the session from 41 laps of action making up for his lack of running in FP1. Max was just behind in P3 with a 1:18.533 from his 39 laps of an ever green Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. Topping the timesheet was Lewis Hamilton with a 1:18.259.

On Saturday morning in Free Practice Three the Bulls first tested the medium tyre in the overcast conditions. Daniel then went out on super softs setting a best time of 1:17.981 which was good enough for P5

The Australian was winding up for another charge when Brendon Hartley crashed badly at turn nine ending the session under a red flag.

Meanwhile, the session was cut short for Max as the Team investigated a potential electrical engine issue. The Dutchman completing just the 5 laps with a top time of 1:19.013 for P12.

Topping the time sheet in the final practice session was Lewis Hamilton with a new lap record 1:17.281.

Reviewing the session, Daniel said:  "It was a day of two halves. The car felt pretty different this afternoon and I think that showed. The mistake in to Turn 4 this morning was a costly one and I missed the final hour of the session because of it. Tail winds are a big thing in F1 and in any corners with a tail wind you lose a lot of rear grip. Turn 4 is a bad corner to have a tail wind and it caught me and a few others out. Of course you don’t want to crash but if I’m trying to find a silver lining, then FP1 is probably the best time to do it. FP2 is the one where you do your Race and Qualifying simulations.

"We got our heads down and put the laps in this afternoon, which was important with the updates to the car, there are quite a few aerodynamicists here today so we needed the laps to give them as much feedback as possible. On the soft tyre we were quite fast, we didn’t really get the supersoft working which I don’t think many people did and it looks like it will be a tricky tyre this weekend. At the end with high fuel I think we were ok but I’m sure we can still be better. We have found some pace, there is still a bit more to find, but overall a pretty good end to a Friday.”

Max added: “You always want to improve but I think the car has been handling pretty well today. We didn’t experience too many issues and it looked competitive in the long runs. P2 and P3 looks good for us on paper but it is only Friday so we’ll keep pushing tonight to make some steps forward for tomorrow. The updates we brought here seem to be working so we will have to wait and see how much of an impact they have on Qualifying. The supersoft tyre doesn’t seem to be particularly quick and is hard to get working, that might change tomorrow but the soft seemed a better compound today.

"The new surface created a few moments for a lot of drivers, myself included. A few corners are now flat out which means we lose a bit more time as it effectively makes the straights longer, but we looked competitive in the last sector so we can make up for it a bit there and play to our strengths. Short runs were decent and long runs looked good so come Sunday I feel we can perform well and have good pace. It is tricky to overtake here so hopefully we can put ourselves in a good position from Qualifying tomorrow.”

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