Charles Leclerc again led the way at practice in the second session in Spain, but the Mercedes were right behind him.
The Ferrari driver is the current championship leader heading into the second European Grand Prix of the 2022 Formula One season, and his performances in the first and second practices of the weekend showed him to be the quickest driver ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Teams will get one more chance, on Saturday, to practise before they are pitted against one another to determine the running order for Sunday’s race.
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With a time of 1:19.670, the Monegasque finished just ahead of the two Mercedes.
Both George Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton look likely to be competitive over the course of the weekend after their early-season struggles.
Russell was in second, with 1:19.787, and Hamilton was a fraction under a tenth of a second behind him. With 10 minutes left of the session, the two Mercedes drivers were recorded as the fastest of the pack down the straights, which could hint that their new upgrades have finally resolved their debilitating porpoising problem.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz put in a time of 1:19.990, backing up Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto, who predicted his team will challenge this year.
There was a slight delay to the session early on when, after 10 minutes gone, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas had to pull off into the sidings when he rapidly lost power, and a virtual safety car was introduced.
There appeared to be a problem with his engine, which calls into question the Ferrari components supplied to their sister team, as the Finn is already on his second engine.
Current champion Max Verstappen was fifth fastest, with Mexican teammate in seventh, looking for his first podium finish in 11th attempts at the circuit.
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