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Hamilton tops Barcelona practice as Mercedes boss rails at ‘sabotage’ claim

Lewis Hamilton topped the practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday, leading the second session with a lap time of 1 minute 13.264 seconds. His performance came amidst controversy, as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff denounced claims of sabotage against Hamilton’s car ahead of the race. Hamilton, who secured his last Grand Prix victory in December 2021, showed promising pace ahead of Sunday’s race in Barcelona, where he aims to challenge Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Verstappen, leading the 2024 championship by 56 points, faced challenges during practice and finished fifth in the second session. Hamilton’s strong showing was complemented by McLaren’s Lando Norris in third and Pierre Gasly’s Alpine in fourth, ahead of Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Despite initial challenges in the first practice session where Hamilton placed seventh, adjustments to the car improved his performance in the later session. Reflecting on the day’s progress, Hamilton expressed optimism about Mercedes’ competitiveness but acknowledged the need for further improvements to challenge rivals Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren.

The backdrop to Hamilton’s performance included off-track distractions, with Mercedes addressing an unsettling email alleging sabotage, a matter now under police investigation. As the weekend progresses, attention will turn to Saturday’s qualifying session, pivotal at a circuit where pole position often dictates race success.

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