After a first session disrupted by rain, the teams were forced to work hard to compensate for the lack of running in Free Practice 1. The sun had returned to Silverstone for this second session of the British Grand Prix, and all the pilots quickly took to the track.
The Ferrari and Red Bull drivers quickly moved to the top of the standings, and Charles Leclerc was the first to go below the 1:30 minute mark in 1’29″462. The Monegasque was then ahead of his teammate, Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton, the five drivers having all driven on medium tires.
Verstappen then dismounted, his RB18 visibly suffering from a mechanical problem. The car was dismantled and the Dutchman was not seen again until 20 minutes from the end. He complained, at that time, of a “weird” sensation.
Lando Norris took the best time before the halfway mark in 1’29″118. Afterwards, it was Sainz who improved in 1’29″016. It only took a few minutes for him to improve and sign a 1’28 “942. Verstappen came back in the shot to within two tenths of the Spaniard.
We saw Alonso being subject to porpoising, especially in high-speed curves, a phenomenon that did not affect the Alpine so far. But that seemed more attributable to the Spaniard’s settings than to the new sidepods of his single-seater, because Esteban Ocon was not affected by the phenomenon.
Pierre Gasly, who was struggling at the back of the peloton, complained of a total lack of grip at the wheel of his AlphaTauri AT03. The Italian team seemed in great difficulty on this first day, especially against Aston Martin, a little more lively, and Alex Albon, clearly in better shape with the evolved version of the Williams.
Hamilton then took second place, 0.163 behind Sainz. Mercedes continues to distill changes, less radical than those sported by Alpine and Red Bull this weekend, but the team is getting closer to the best, race after race. At home, the seven-time world champion would like to shine.
Team-mate George Russell complained of a lack of grip and an inability to attack during his long stint at the end of the session, but ultimately the team seemed content with a “close to Ferrari” pace. The Briton switched back to soft tires at the very end of the session.
Sainz kept the best time of the session ahead of Hamilton, Norris, Verstappen and Leclerc. Can we expect a four-team battle? Nothing is less certain, because Ferrari and Red Bull often accelerate on Saturdays. Nevertheless, the overall performance of Mercedes and McLaren is encouraging, as is that of sixth-placed Alonso.
Pérez and Russell follow ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll, who completes the top 10. Best time in EL1 in the rain, Valtteri Bottas is 11th ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon. Guanyu Zhou follows, and Gasly is only 18th, framed by the Haas F1 drivers.
|01||carlos sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:28.942||28|
|02||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:29.105||21|
|03||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:29.118||29|
|04||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:29.149||18|
|05||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:29.404||25|
|06||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:29.695||19|
|07||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:29.753||17|
|08||george russell||Mercedes W13||1:29.799||29|
|09||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:29.902||26|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:29.942||17|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:30.000||29|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:30.057||20|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:30.238||12|
|14||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:30.263||14|
|15||Guanyu-Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:30.271||27|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:30.338||29|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:30.480||27|
|18||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:30.510||28|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:30.609||29|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:31.326||27|