Hamilton continues dominate form in second practice at Paul Richard
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News June 22, 2018 Updated: 11:47 AM PT
LE CASTELLET, France — Lewis Hamilton backed up his strong morning performance by finishing on top in the second practice session ahead of the French Grand Prix.
Heavy winds continued to catch drivers out during the session as they worked through the tricky characteristics of the Paul Ricard Circuit.
Hamilton finished 0.704s ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in second followed by teammate Max Verstappen in third. Verstappen made up for time lost on the track in the earlier session as the team were repairing a damaged wheel on his car.
Mercedes head into this weekend with their new upgraded engine that was originally planned to be used in Canada but was postponed before the race weekend. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished 0.887s from Hamilton in fourth with teammate Sebastian Vettel in fifth.
Romain Grosjean ended the day in sixth followed by Valtteri Bottas who finished seventh but only managed seven laps after a water leak was discovered that ended his day. Grosjean, who had a positive day on track, reflects on the atmosphere he has felt racing at home.
“I’ve seen a lot of French flags, and it’s been a very special feeling driving at home,” Grosjean said.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished eighth but had a small spin at Turn 5 and ended the session splitting the two Haas cars with Kevin Magnussen in ninth. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly ended his day inside the top ten in ninth while Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz finished 11th and 12th.
The French team also took time to celebrate it’s history with a parade that featured an array of historic cars as well as former champions including 1982 French Grand Prix winner René Arnoux and 1981 Monte Carlo Rally victor Jean Ragnotti.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne finished 13th followed by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in 14th. Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericsson was unable to participate in the afternoon session due to the extensive damage his car received after he crashed in the opening practice.
Brendon Hartley finished 15th in the second Toro Rosso but ran into a power unit issue in the closing minutes of the session. Esteban Ocon finished 16th after his teammate Sergio Perez hit trouble when his right-rear tire came loose at Turn 7.
Williams’ drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin finished 17th and 18th. After his wheel incident, Sergio Perez rejoined the session and finished 19th.