After Mercedes had been the team to beat throughout Friday’s practice sessions, it was Ferrari on top of the final practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen led Sebastian Vettel across the line for a Ferrari one-two. With a fastest time of 1:20.214, Raikkonen displayed a pace that was 0.242 seconds faster than the pace that Vettel could produce.
However, the troubles that had plagued Ferrari’s day yesterday had not disappeared overnight. An unknown issue in Vettel’s Ferrari saw him stop halfway down pit lane with ten minutes of the session left. His mechanics rushed to his aid, pushing him back into the garage when he climbed out of the car and finished his session early.
Lewis Hamilton rounded off the top three, ending 0.381 seconds off of Raikkonen’s fastest lap time. The top six was composed of two-by-two in teams as Ferrari led Mercedes from the Red Bul duo, taking up fifth and sixth with Max Verstappen ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
But Bottas’ only managed to set seven laps in this session, getting his Mercedes out on track with under ten minutes left. The Finn was hit with electrical problems on his Mercedes last night that saw the team staying late to replace his power unit. However, when they returned to the car this morning, it was clear that there was also an issue on the power unit they had put in the car, so they had to replace it again. This means that Bottas will be running this weekend’s race with the same engine he has used for the first four rounds of the season.
Nico Hulkenberg took seventh, ahead of Felipe Massa in eighth and the Spanish duo of Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso who completed the top ten. Alonso had a much better session today as he came straight out of the garage at session start and put the first flying lap on the board. The Spaniard was desperate to make up for the lost track time from yesterday. His first runs on the medium compound saw him go P9 whilst his first run on the softs saw him P10 at chequered flag. This could be a promising sign that Alonso may drag something out of his McLaren for his home fans this afternoon.
It is very up in the air as to who will take the advantage between Mercedes and Ferrari and claim pole position later on today. It is also not guaranteed who will be safe and make it through to the top ten, with the midfield being so close pace wise. Qualifying is due to be an interesting one as it gets underway later on today.