Lewis Hamilton claimed once again the fastest time of the session ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. The session was interrupted by Jolyon Palmer’s accident.
Romain Grosjean (Haas) was the first driver to head out on the grid without the T-wing which was extremely mobile during FP1. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) had to wait in the pits following a technical issue in the early stages of the session. Both American cars faced different brakes issues in the first laps. Fifteen minutes into the session, Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) was faster than Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), both on super-soft tyres.
After having been blocked in his first flying lap, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) took fastest time from his teammate and ducked under the 1’25 lap time. Jolyon Palmer (Renault) was the first driver to suffer from an accident of the week-end. In the last corner, he carried on too much speed on the exist and rebounded on the wall, provoking a red flag.
The session resumed with fifty-eight laps to go with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren), the only two drivers who had not set any lap time. A few laps later, Felipe Massa (Williams) stopped his car trackside with a gear box problem.
The incident did not involve a red flag intervention which let the drivers free to set flying lap times. Hamilton managed to beat the 2016 pole position lap time with a 1:23.620 only one tenth a drift from the lap record ahead of Vettel and Bottas. During his flying, Verstappen gave himself a scare on the outside of turn 12 but eventually managed to get back on track.
As usual, the last third of the session was dedicated to race simulations. With Palmer and Massa out, Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) and Lance Stroll (Williams) had to carry on the their teams’ testing programmes all by themselves.
The good surprise of the end of the session came from McLaren and Fernando Alonso’s 12th best time overall and a good mileage. With five minutes to go, Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) went into the gravel and implied the intervention of the virtual safety car.
Lewis Hamilton finished the day on top ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Sainz, Grosjean, Hülkenberg and Kvyat completed the top 10 in the second free-practice session.