Just when Red Bull were threatening to utterly dominate this year’s Spanish Grand Prix weekend a spanner is thrown in the works. Sure, you’d still make the Milton Keynes-based team favourites to grab pole and the victory this weekend, but Lewis Hamilton’s lap to split the Red Bulls in FP2 suggests that this isn’t quite the formality we’d felt it may turn out to be.

Cars hit the track early in the session, with 23 of the 24 entrants on the circuit ten minutes in to the session. The first truly fast lap came from world champion Sebastian Vettel, who switched to option tyres and went P1 40 minutes in.

It was then his team-mates turn to shine – and boy does he need to this weekend – as Mark Webber went three tenths faster than Seb to take top spot. The man who took pole and won here last year is under pressure to beat his fellow Red Bull driver in Spain, and has at least begun the grand prix weekend on the front foot by topping both sessions.

You’d have been fair to suggest that the top two were now set, but that would have been to rule out Hamilton. With a set of options bolted to his McLaren he managed to split the Red Bulls, going just 0.039 slower than Webber. In fact the Brit managed to set a time identical to Webber’s as he hit the end of sector two.


That said Red Bull do look to have the superior long run pace, as demonstrated by Vettel and Webber’s lack of drop off when running in race trim later in the session. They remain favourites, though there is a glimmer of hope that we could have a battle on our hands this weekend.

Elsewhere Jenson Button ended up fourth with Spanish favourite Fernando Alonso fifth. The Ferrari has qualified there for all four grand prix this season – what odds of him making to five fifths from five tomorrow? Meanwhile his team-mate Felipe Massa had something of a scruffy session, ending up in the gravel at one point and finishing the session eight tenths shy of Alonso in eighth spot.

The Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were solid enough, ending the session sixth and seventh fastest, with Kamui Kobayahshi and Nick Heidfeld completing the top ten. Sergio Perez was again impressive, taking 11th in the second Sauber.

Meanwhile the Hispania cars appear to be struggling at the back, with both lapping well off the pace and looking vulnerable to finishing outside the 107% qualifying bracket.

Final practice takes place tomorrow morning followed by the afternoon qualifying session.