FP2: Bottas pips Hamilton as Mercedes narrowly edge Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes 1-2 in second practice at Silverstone on Friday, with the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finishing immediately behind Lewis Hamilton. Numerous drivers struggled with gusting winds, as that, combined with the new track surface, made for a challenging session.
Bottas led much of FP1 before Pierre Gasly’s late flying lap, but the Mercedes driver had a comfortable hold on P1 throughout FP2. He ended the second session with a time of 1m 26.732s on soft tyres, and that was enough to eventually beat Hamilton by just 0.069s.
The Finn’s FP2 session was then compromised with a car issue that sprung 30 minutes before the end. He emerged with a few minutes remaining, but completed 25 laps compared to Hamilton’s 35.
At Ferrari Leclerc was two-tenths behind the leader and 0.251s ahead of team mate Vettel. Vettel’s session ended with an engine issue as he told engineers that his car’s battery had lost charge.
FP1 HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 British Grand Prix
The morning's pacesetter, Pierre Gasly, settled for fifth in his Red Bull in the second session – half a second off Bottas. McLaren’s Lando Norris split the Red Bulls with a time of 1m 27.546s, seventh-place Max Verstappen just 0.016s behind him. But the Briton was also one of several drivers to struggle with the crosswinds, going off at the Becketts-Maggots section. He was in good company – Hamilton was twice bitten at the corner and Vettel also went off there.
Behind the eighth-place McLaren of Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon was competitive throughout the session for Toro Rosso, ending up in ninth and 0.005s ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, as a gap of just 1.270s split the top 10.
FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2019
Great Britain 2019
Practice 2 results
|1 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||1:26.732|
|2 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.069s|
|3 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.197s|
|4 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari||+0.448s|
|5 Pierre Gasly GAS Red Bull Racing||+0.517s|
Long runs were cut short with just under 15 minutes of the session remaining as 14th-place Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault stopped at the Maggots-Becketts sequence, triggering a Virtual Safety Car. Competitive in FP1, Renault ended up towards the back of a crowded midfield in the afternoon session, Nico Hulkenberg 15th a place behind his team mate.
However, there was little to choose between rivals in the midfield, with eighth-place Sainz just 0.307s faster than 17th-place Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
Kevin Magnussen’s 12th-place finish was a small consolation for Haas, Romain Grosjean being kept in the garage for the first 40 minutes of FP2 with a suspected hydraulic leak. His start to the British Grand Prix hasn’t been ideal after his baffling FP1 accident. Grosjean ended FP2 in 18th.
Bringing up the rear were the Williams drivers, George Russell’s car leaking fluid with under an hour of the session remaining, causing him to retire from FP2. Robert Kubica was 0.5s faster than his team mate at the finish, completing 37 laps to Russell’s tally of 11.