Both Ferrari and Mercedes finished ahead of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
Leclerc posted a time of 1:19.670s in the updated F1-75 to ensure he topped both Friday practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Ferrari’s Formula 1 championship leader Charles Leclerc completed a clean sweep of Spanish Grand Prix Friday practice sessions, as Mercedes produced another strong FP2 showing.
Leclerc was behind both main title rival Max Verstappen and team-mate Carlos Sainz – albeit just 0.063s off – after the opening round of push laps on mediums, but leapfrogged both once swapping to to the soft compound.
His 1m19.670s – three tenths clear of team-mate Sainz – looked to have guaranteed him the top spot, but came under surprise threat from the Mercedes W13s of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who ultimately ended up slotting in between the two Ferraris.
Despite topping the timesheets, Leclerc appeared less competitive on late-session long runs – and at one point reported that his tyres “were going into pieces”.
Mercedes’ single-lap performance was reminiscent of the previous F1 weekend in Miami, in which Russell had gone quickest on Friday before the Silver Arrows dropped back towards the midfield over the rest of the weekend.
Local hero Sainz ended up two tenths behind Russell and a tenth behind Hamilton in fourth, and was 0.016s clear of erstwhile session leader Verstappen.
The other Spaniard in the field, Fernando Alonso, got his Alpine up between the two Red Bulls, with Sergio Perez – who had made way for Red Bull reserve Juri Vips in FP1 – only seventh.
A traffic-compromised final sector on his first soft-tyre push lap meant Perez’s second flyer on the rubber was actually marginally quicker – but it was still around half a second off Verstappen’s respective second attempt.
Perez also had a trip through the gravel late on in his race simulation run.
Sebastian Vettel was eighth in the new Aston Martin, which has continued to garner headlines due to its similarity to the Red Bull RB18, while Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Mick Schumacher (Haas) completed the top 10.
Alfa Romeo’s early-2022 reliability headaches continued as Valtteri Bottas’s C42 coughed up a cloud of smoke on the main straight, forcing him to turn to the grass on the inside of Turn 1 and abandon his session after just two full laps.
Lando Norris, meanwhile, was limited to just six laps as they had proven messy. He first ran off at Turn 7, going through the gravel, and then went wide at Turn 9 on a latter lap – which looked much less severe yet proved more costly, as he reported floor damage and returned to the McLaren pit garage, not to emerge in FP2 again.
FP2 : Mercedes duo in top three FP2 : Mercedes duo in top three