Mercedes on top with Red Bull struggling in Spain

FIA F1 | 2015 Formula 1 World Championship – Spanish Grand Prix (FP1 + FP2)

Written and Images by - Jarrod Moore

With a sunny top of 19C in Barcelona today, teams arrived at the track for the first free practice session (FP1).

The usual suspects at Mercedes-AMG, Scuderia Ferrari and Williams F1, looked suitably prepared for the warm and sunny conditions ahead of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s engine woes continued with Daniel Ricciardo suffering engine problems in the opening laps of FP1 at the Circuit de Barcelona.

After only a few minutes into the start of FP1 Ricciardo had issues with the Renault engine that forced him back into the pits, where he would spend most of the session.

It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that he would be back out after fixing the engine. He was able to complete the session in P9, a little over three-tenths behind team mate Daniil Kvyat.

Mercedes proved to be as strong as ever throughout that practice session, with Nico Rosberg just nudging ahead of Lewis Hamilton by seven- tenths.

Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, which despite bringing several major upgrades to the car’s floor and aero package, was almost a second behind.

Rosberg crossed the line into the pits after the safety bollard. This action is now under investigation with the outcome pending. This potentially could result in a grid position penalty for the race.

Throughout the session all of the teams were running the hard compound tyres.

Images by Jarrod Moore

The new McLaren car has proven to be quite the handful for Jenson Button. Button only managed P16, complaining the balance of the front wing was off and the car was experiencing extensive over-steer.

In the second practice session a dramatic spectacle unfolded, when the fixings holding Romain Grosjean’s bodywork came loose. This caused the rear panels to detach, flying off into the air leaving only the bodywork from the side pods forward still attached.

Continuing their horrible run with the Renault Power Units, Ricciardo was only able to complete a few laps after missing the majority of the practice session as Red Bull Racing replaced his faulty power unit.

Red Bull’s problems came from a fluid leak in the engine. As a result it was decided to replace the entire power unit giving Ricciardo some time in FP2. The consequences could be dealt with later.

As the temperature rose in the afternoon sessions, Hamilton was able to stay on top of the board with a 1:26.852. This was marginally better than Vettel’s Ferrari.

Rounding off the top 10 places was Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstrappen, Jenson Button, Valterri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massar.

The McLaren of Jenson Button evidently responded well in the second practice session after several complaints from the drivers in the first session. 
Jenson was able to get his McLaren up to seventh position.

Spain Practice - Best time

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