0434 GMT November 17, 2018
Hamilton headed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel despite kerb-hopping the last chicane on what would have been his fastest lap, BBC wrote.
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was also quicker than the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fourth.
When rain hit, Hamilton slid at the hairpin, breaking his front wing.
It was the end of an up-and-down day for the world champion, who set the pace in both sessions despite a spin at the hairpin in first practice and a bounce over the kerbs on his first flying lap on the super-soft tires in the second session.
Hamilton blamed the crash in the second session on his car aquaplaning — when the wheels float on water and the car cannot be controlled — as he was braking.
Hamilton’s crash dissuaded anyone else from doing any running as the rain grew heavier to the end of the session.
BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish said, “It has not been a clean run for Lewis and these are the sort of things than can affect a driver. Each one you can compartmentalize but when they add up you have to take a breath and reset, which he can do overnight.”
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said, “We wanted to do some clutch calibration and do some starts and just take it easy and this is how it ended.
“I think he just aquaplaned on the front and then you remove a lot of water which is why the rear wheels were still turning.
“I wouldn’t interpret too much into it. It is just one of those Fridays when it is difficult to get a lap together.”
Wolff admitted that Ferrari’s pace on its race-simulation runs on a heavy fuel load before the rain hit was a concern.
Wolff said, “On the long runs they were extremely fast and they need to be taken seriously.”
Hamilton was 0.316 seconds quicker than Vettel on headline lap times, with Raikkonen just 0.06secs adrift of his teammate and Rosberg 0.452secs slower than the world champion.
The margin between Hamilton and Rosberg was similar to that in the first session, when they were first and second quicker and more than 1.5secs clear of the Ferraris.
The rain, which came 35 minutes into the session, led to a compressed period of running, with most teams trying both sets of tires and fitting in a short run on a race fuel load before the track the soaked.
Mercedes — or at least Hamilton — appears to retain an edge on one-lap pace but the suggestion from Friday’s running was that an upgrade to its engine might have moved Ferrari into a more competitive position.
The Italian team has used three of its permitted 10 remaining engine development ‘tokens’ on an upgrade to its combustion system.
Insiders say that the improvement is worth about 15bhp in overall power.
And its race simulation runs were very impressive, with Vettel complaining that he could run faster than Rosberg, who was running ahead of him on track.
The lap times bore him out. Both Ferraris ran in the one minute 18-second bracket, with Vettel on the super-soft tire and Raikkonen on the soft, while the Mercedes was in the one minute 19s.
However, the gap between the two teams suggests that Ferrari may have been running on a lighter fuel load.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, “Ferrari look very strong on race-simulations. Either they put a little less fuel in their cars or they are seriously quick.”