Sports

Miami votes unanimously in favour of 2019 F1 race

Miami votes unanimously in favour of 2019 F1 race

Lewis Hamilton ensured Mercedes topped both Friday practice sessions at the Spanish Grand Prix but Red Bull and Ferrari both closed the gap in FP2.

Bottas recovered quickly to put himself at the top of the timesheet after the first 30 minutes, with Hamilton and Vettel hot on his heels.

It meant a clear competitive picture was even harder to discern than usual. Kubica set his fastest lap on his next tour after the yellow flag for Stroll's incident was rescinded, on the same type of super-soft tyre.

The unexpected situation with tyres meant that the headline lap times were potentially not a reflection of real pace.

Bottas - shod with soft tyres - had a convincing eight-tenths advantage over Hamilton and nine-tenths over Vettel, who finished the session on the supersofts.

Stroll almost hit the tyre barriers after going off the track with about a half-hour left in the first session.

Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, was sixth fastest in the afternoon and had to retire late because of an apparent engine problem.

A proposed track map for the Miami race came out a few days after the original reports, complete with 2 long straightaways over water and so many 90-degree turns that it looked like cars would have to yield to oncoming traffic during the race.

Formula One chairman Chase Carey said on Wednesday in a Liberty Media conference call with analysts that he hoped and believed the race would happen.

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When the virtual safety vehicle finished Bottas improved twice on a new set of soft tyres and got down to a 1m18.411s before another Turn 10 moment, this time locking up and running deep after encountering traffic.

Kevin Magnussen backed up his teammate with the eighth-fastest time after escaping from FP1 with only a reprimand for blocking Charles Leclerc at high speed, while Stoffel Vandoorne and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

Their travails were nothing compared to those of Williams, though, for whom Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were 19th and 20th, three seconds off the pace, the track brutally exposing the car's aerodynamic weaknesses.

But Hamilton noted that a bad course can doom a race, and pointed to the example of the one that didn't work well in Valencia, Spain, from 2008-12.

"It was so windy out there and every driver was struggling with the changing direction of the wind. Track conditions were not easy for anybody because it was very windy and hard to put together a clean lap and stay on the track".

"I've got the pace within me, the auto has got the pace within it but we're not unlocking it.we've definitely got to improve in lots of areas".

"I think the performance upgrade battle will be important, to see how that development goes between both teams, so that will definitely be important". It is very close.

The Formula One circus returns to Europe for the first time in 2018 and to a very familiar track.


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