F1 qualifying LIVE: Spanish Grand Prix final practice session updates as Mercedes aim to continue progress

<p>Mercedes are hoping to show signs of progress at the Spanish Grand Prix</p>
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Mercedes are hoping to show signs of progress at the Spanish Grand Prix

(AFP via Getty Images)

Follow all the action from the Spanish Grand Prix as the final practice session takes place ahead of qualifying this afternoon.

Max Verstappen’s victory in Miami reduced Charles Leclerc’s lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to just 19 points but it was the Ferrari driver who was quickest in yesterday’s second practice session. There were also encouraging signs for Mercedes after it was revealed the team had been testing new upgrades to their car at a filming day earlier this week. George Russell finished second in practice, ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was buoyed by the progress after consistently struggling with the car’s porpoising issue.

“It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing,” he said. “We still have some bouncing but it is way better and we are starting to eke into the potential of the car. I am grateful for the upgrades. We just need to fine-tune them.” Follow all the action from practice and qualifying below:


Gasly’s car on fire

Pierre Gasly was just about to head out onto the track in Barcelona, ​​but is immediately taken back into the garage by the AlphaTauri team with the rear of his car smoking heavily.

The fire extinguisher is out, and the problem seems to be coming from below the engine cover. Gasly’s Honda engine previously caught fire during the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 12:06


FP3 begins in Spain

Saturday’s practice session is now underground out in Barcelona.

Ferrari have been fastest in both sessions so far this weekend, with Charles Leclerc topping the timesheets in FP1 and FP2. But Red Bull’s long run pace has looked better by about half a second per lap, so keeping an eye on the data in this session will be worthwhile.

Mercedes seemed to have taken a significant step forward on Friday, but can they maintain that pace this afternoon?

Cars are being to make their way out onto the circuit.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 12:01


Red Bull chief claims evidence shows Aston Martin downloaded data in F1 car copy row

Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko claims evidence exists showing that Aston Martin have downloaded some of his team’s data to help them build a new Formula 1 car which bears an uncanny resemblance to Red Bull’s.

Aston Martin arrived in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this week with a completely revamped version of their AMR22, which made its on-track debut during practice on Friday. The re-designed halo, sidepods, and engine cover on the Aston Martin are all very similar to the parts Red Bull have been running all season long, with their RB18 car the frontrunner at the past two grands prix in Imola and Miami.

Now Marko, who oversees Red Bull’s young driver program and attends race weekends, says evidence suggests that Aston Martin’s redesign has come about via the downloading of confidential Red Bull data by staff members who have switched between the teams.

“There is evidence that data has been downloaded,” Marko claimed. “It’s just the question: copying is probably not prohibited to begin with, but can you copy without documents in such a way that you can get such a detailed copy of our car?”

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:54


Hamilton ‘super happy’ with Mercedes improvements ahead of Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton says he is “super happy” with the progress his Mercedes team appear to have made in the run up to the Spanish Grand Prix.

In the two practice sessions which took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Friday, Mercedes seemed to take a significant step forward, ending the day second and third fastest behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with an enormous reduction in the intensity of porpoising.

“It is positive,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “I am super happy with the progress. We’re not the quickest yet but I think we’re on our way. It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing. We still have some bouncing but it is way better and we are starting to eke into the potential of the car.

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:44


Schumacher could be replaced by ‘queue’ of potential F1 drivers at Haas, warns Steiner

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says “a queue of drivers” could potentially replace Mick Schumacher if the German’s Formula 1 performances don’t improve.

The 23-year-old Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, is one of only two full-time drivers who have failed to score at least one point in the opening rounds of the 2022 season, alongside Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

“You don’t have forever in Formula 1,” Steiner told Sport Bild in Germany. “There is a queue of drivers who want to drive in your place. I am sure that Mick is aware that no one will wait for him. He’s working very hard at it, but it’s very difficult. Formula 1 is not an easy business but I do see Mick going in the right direction.”

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:34


Alonso blasts F1 race control and stewards as ‘incompetent’ after Miami penalties

Fernando Alonso has slammed Formula 1’s stewards and the FIA’s new race control setup, calling the officiating in the top tier of motorsport “incompetent” and “not very professional”.

Alonso, 40, is the most experienced driver on the F1 grid and is set to overtake former Ferrari and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen’s record of 349 grand prix starts during the course of the 2022 campaign, but has been left unimpressed with the new structure put in place by FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem, who was elected to replace the outgoing Jean Todt last December.

“We saw a couple of things already that proves that [race control] still need to improve a lot,” he said. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director or trying to monitor a race. I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment. I know there is a new race director here. Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and other categories at the top level and I think that will already improve things.”

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:24


Leclerc setting pace in Barcelona so far this weekend

Charles Leclerc was fastest in both FP1 and FP2 out in Barcelona yesterday afternoon, and you can see how far behind him each driver was in the second session below:

1 Charles LECLERC 1:19.670

8 Sebastian VETTEL +1,033

10 Mick SCHUMACHER +1,087

12 Kevin MAGNUSSEN +1,343

15 Daniel RICCIARDO +1,715

16 Valtteri BOTTAS +2,158

18 Alexander ALBON +2,649

19 Nicholas LATIFI +3,527

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:13


Welcome to coverage of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix

Good morning, and welcome to live coverage of qualifying for the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari head into today’s action as the pacesetters, with championship leader Charles Leclerc topping the timesheets in both of Friday’s practice sessions. Mercedes saw a significant improvement in their fortunes yesterday too, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finishing FP2 in second and third place respectively, and the W13 suffering from far less intense porpoising than previous race weekends.

We’ll bring you all of the action from the third practice sessions, which begins at 12pm, qualifying when it starts at 3pm, and all of the news updates throughout the day.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 11:11


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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