Hamilton tops 2nd practice in Spain, Verstappen 9th

MONTMELÓ, Spain (AP) — Lewis Hamilton did what he does best on Friday, and Max Verstappen didn’t.

Hamilton clocked the fastest time in the second practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, while Verstappen finished a distant ninth.

Hamilton, who leads Verstappen by eight points in the Formula One standings, set the best time in the second session with a lap of 1 minute, 18.170 seconds. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was .139 seconds behind in second after the Finn had set the fastest time in the first practice session.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend, the track is awesome and our balance is similar to what we had in the last race,” Hamilton said. “It looks close, but I think we’ve got good pace.”

Verstappen was .615 off the pace. The Red Bull driver missed some time on the track while his team worked on the car, and his last lap was cut short when he damaged the right tip of his front wing.

“How competitive we are going to be tomorrow is always going to be a question mark on a Friday, but from our side we are quite happy,” Verstappen said. “Of course, you always want to improve and do better, so we just have to make sure tomorrow that we are up there. But I’m looking forward to it.”