Hamilton, Verstappen expect tight duel in Spanish heat on Sunday

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen anticipate a close battle for victory in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after practice on Friday.

Once again it was Mercedes who topped the timesheets in both sessions in Barcelona, with Valtteri Bottas' morning benchmark actually the fastest time of the day.

But following the blistering issues in last weekend's race at Silverstone that allowed Verstappen to claim victory, more emphasis was on the long run pace of the W11 and whether they could keep their tyres in better shape in the Spanish heat.

“It’s definitely quite tough out there, It’s the hottest that it has been,” Hamilton told reporters.

“I don’t think I’ve been to Spain when it’s this hot. We’re here in February and March usually, or early May. It’s beautiful weather but it’s a killer in the car and it’s obviously very tough on tyres as well, you’re just sliding around with overheating.

“But it’s been a good day - the second session was better for me," the world champion added. "The long runs we look very close with the Red Bulls so I think it’s going to be a very close race.”

Verstappen too was talking up his team's race pace, though admitted it was the only chance he had to take on Mercedes.

“I felt quite good today – let’s see on Sunday if it’s going to be the same,” he said.

“I think today the car was performing quite okay. Over one lap we are clearly lacking to Mercedes, but overall I think it was a positive day.

"Especially on the long runs, the car felt pretty nice to drive, so of course that’s quite important.”

Also Read:

Last weekend, Verstappen really benefited from being the only driver to start on the hard tyre after taking the risk in Q2 in qualifying a day earlier.

But asked if a similar tactic is possible in Barcelona, he was doubtful.

“We are using all the hardest compounds so I think it’s OK, manageable,” Verstappen said of the degradation. "I would have liked a bit softer but it is what it is.

“I think the compounds are so hard I don’t think you need to go that extreme as we did in the second week in Silverstone.”