Just as this morning, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and team mate Lewis Hamilton were all but inseparable at Silverstone in Friday afternoon’s second practice session, with only 0.047s between them. This time, however, it was Ferrari rather than Red Bull who pushed them hardest, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both within half a second of the silver cars.
In a session that again saw several high-profile spinners, Raikkonen among them, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo dropped to fifth and sixth in the order. By contrast, Nico Hulkenberg climbed to an impressive seventh for Renault.
Williams’ Felipe Massa was eighth, as Fernando Alonso – who has a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race – again cracked the top ten for McLaren in ninth, ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
In another relatively low-key 90 minutes, held in cool, overcast and windy conditions, Hamilton set the fastest time on Pirelli’s soft tyre of 1m 28.543s, which Bottas later beat by less than a tenth of a second with 1m 28.496s, despite being on the stickier supersofts.
Raikkonen’s 1m 28.828s stopped the clocks 0.332s slower than Bottas’ marker, with Vettel getting down to 1m 28.956s. Both set their times on the supersoft tyres, with Raikkonen’s spin at coming at Becketts.
Verstappen was again close, with 1m 29.098s, as Ricciardo was sixth on 1m 29.586s, but the Australian ran the soft tyre whereas the Dutchman ran the supersoft. Verstappen also had a minor moment at Becketts, and later was involved in an incident with Massa when he made a late lunge to pass the Brazilian at Vale.
Behind the top 10, Carlos Sainz spun his Toro Rosso at Becketts but recovered to set the 11th fastest time, while Jolyon Palmer rotated his Renault at Brooklands.