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Friday analysis - uncertainty reigns at Silverstone 04 Jul 2014

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F14 T.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW36.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India VJM07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Sauber C33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus E22 is pushed in pit lane.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham CT05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014

Most teams got their tyre testing and race distance work done at Silverstone on Friday as the track remained dry throughout, but some found it hard to generate tyre temperatures in the hard Pirellis and everyone was troubled to some degree by relatively high wind. There were technical woes up and down the grid, and if it rains tomorrow, and Sunday, as seems possible, all of today’s work could be rendered academic. We take a team-by-team look at the early progress in Great Britain…

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 36.155s, P2/1m 34.508s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 35.424s, P1/1m 34.736s, P2

The big news in the Silver Arrows camp was the as-yet unidentified problem that caused Hamilton’s W05 Hybrid to shut itself down soon after he had set the fastest times on both tyre compounds in FP2. While Rosberg got his long runs done, Hamilton missed out in the final half hour and will have to compromise his programme in FP3 to make up that lost experience. Even so, Mercedes are again the class of the field, though it seems that their reliability can no longer be taken for granted.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 36.263s, P3/1m 35.244s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 36.703s, P5/1m 36.554s, P9

There was nothing of great note emanating from Ferrari today, where they did the usual tyre test work while also trying different rear wings.

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 36.921s, P6/1m 35.511s, P4
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 36.623s, P4/1m 35.627s, P5

Ricciardo set his time on the hard tyre in FP2 and said the medium was a struggle, but he felt very happy that the team had made some very good progress in the afternoon which he hopes will stand them in good stead tomorrow. Vettel said things were okay but that the wind had been bothersome.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas (pm only), 1m 36.016s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 39.461s, P17/1m 36.671s, P11
Susie Wolff (am only) 1m 44.212s, P21

Williams had an appalling morning. Wolff’s session lasted only four laps before an oil pressure problem forced her to a halt, then Massa damaged all four corners of his car with a heavy shunt approaching Vale after he’d put a wheel over the kerb exiting Stowe. The afternoon was better, but both problems seriously compromised the team’s performance. In FP2 Bottas had further trouble when his engine cover came loose.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 36.963s, P7/1m 36.228s, P7
Kevin Magnussen, 1m 37.231s, P10/1m 36.299s, P8

Both drivers struggled to improve the balance in the high-speed corners, and Button said that the high winds had hurt the MP4-29’s already compromised level of downforce, making back-to-back comparisons difficult.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 37.227s, P9/1m 36.583s, P10
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 37.175s, P8/1m 36.778s, P12

It seemed like another reasonable day for Toro Rosso, especially when Vergne completed the top 10 in FP2, but then his front left wheel came loose, adding to the headaches from Austria.

Force India
Sergio Perez, 1m 37.720s, P11/1m 37.236s, P16
Nico Hulkenberg (pm only), 1m 37.449s, P17
Daniel Juncadella (am only), 1m 38.083s, P14

Force India struggled for the first time this year as, ironically, the VJM07s seemed ill-suited to their local track. Juncadella did a fine job in FP1 and was impressively close to Perez, though he was unhappy with a flat-spotted front tyre which he had to keep using.

Sauber
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 38.056s, P13/1m 36.951s, P13
Adrian Sutil (pm only), 1m 37.520s, P18
Giedo van der Garde (am only), 1m 38.328s, P15

Gutierrez thought that aggressive set-up changes eventually helped in FP2 after a false start in FP1, but Sutil’s time was compromised by having to share his C33 with Van der Garde. The Dutchman was happy apart from understeer under braking, but the German was never at ease with the car later in the day.

Lotus
Pastor Maldonado, No time, P22/1m 37.064s, P14
Romain Grosjean, 1m 37.910s, P12/1m 37.097s, P15

Maldonado stopped early in FP1 when the telemetry warned of an imminent powertrain problem, then when his E22 was running again both drivers struggled throughout with serious oversteer.

Caterham
Kamui Kobayashi (pm only), 1m 39.068s, P20
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 40.597s, P19/1m 39.762s, P22
Robin Frijns (am only), 1m 42.261s, P20

The newly sold Caterham teamhad a gruelling day, though it ended on a brighter note when Kobayashi put his green car back ahead of the Marussias. But in the morning Frijns had been delayed after his CT05’s floor began to come off, while Ericsson spun and then couldn’t continue as first gear wouldn’t engage. In the afternoon the Swede’s car suffered a serious enough powertrain failure to punch a hole through the engine cover.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 38.917s, P16/1m 38.658s, P19
Max Chilton, 1m 39.814s, P18/1m 39.224s, P21

Chilton complained bitterly of debilitating high-speed understeer in FP1, while Bianchi lost time in both sessions with powertrain-related problems.

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