Dakar Rally News: Hamilton Leads the Way in Free Practice for 2024 Spanish Rally

    Toyama, Japan, [Publication Date] – In a thrilling turn of events at the 2024 Spanish Rally, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the second hour of Free Practice, leading the way from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren-Mercedes’ Lando Norris.

    Strong Showing from Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

    The session saw a strong showing from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, continuing their impressive form from the recent Canadian Rally and the earlier practice session on Friday. However, the defending champion, Max Verstappen, was not entirely satisfied with the performance of his RB20, despite Red Bull Racing introducing a significant upgrade package for this weekend’s event.

    Verstappen expressed his frustration over the radio, complaining about understeer mid-corner, as teams shifted their focus towards qualifying simulations.

    Tight Competition at the Top

    Sainz initially went quickest, but Hamilton soon took the top spot by just 0.022 seconds. Once the drivers had completed their runs on the soft compound tyre, attention turned to race simulations, with a likely two-stop strategy expected for Sunday’s rally. Norris fell less than a tenth behind Hamilton, ending the day in third after going quickest in the earlier Free Practice One session.

    Notable Performances

    1. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly produced an impressive lap to place fourth.
    2. Charles Leclerc improved on his earlier performance but was still trailing his Ferrari teammate’s pace, finishing sixth.
    3. George Russell was slightly out of sync with the other runners, ending the day in eighth.
    4. Valtteri Bottas, driving for Kick Sauber Ferrari, completed the top ten.

    Challenges for Red Bull

    It was a challenging day for Red Bull, as Sergio Pérez found himself down in thirteenth, while Fernando Alonso was the lead Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team car in fourteenth. Lance Stroll also struggled, finishing in eighteenth.

    The focus for the teams now shifts to the remainder of the weekend, as they aim to fine-tune their setups and strategy for the upcoming Spanish Rally on Sunday. Stay tuned to our ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) page for all the latest updates and news from this thrilling event!

    🔗 Source