What the teams said – Friday at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
The Silver Arrows have traditionally struggled in the heat over the last few years, but if today is anything to go by, they have long since solved those issues. The team topped both practice sessions by a comfortable margin from their rivals, with Hamilton and Bottas sharing the honours today. Interestingly, Hamilton was quicker on the medium compound tyres than the soft compound, which bodes well for the team using those in Q2 tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1m26.304s, P2; FP2: 1m25.606s, P1
"It's been a good start to the weekend. We brought a lot of learnings over from last week and with just a few small adjustments to the set-up we've been able to fine-tune the car and make some progress, which is positive. Both the Soft and Medium tyres feel very similar out there and there's not a huge amount of time between them. We saw some overheating with the tyres, so they are going to take some nursing to get the best out of them. It was great to take the win here last weekend, but I know just how strong Valtteri is and as we saw last weekend, absolutely anything can happen in F1."
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1m26.166s, P1; FP2: 1m25.782s, P2
"We learned a lot last week, so the starting set-up today was good. The car felt more comfortable than in the race or in qualifying, so the balance already feels pretty much there. We focused a lot on the tyres today and there doesn't seem to be a lot between the Medium and the Soft when it comes to single lap pace. The Soft is struggling with the high-speed corners, especially in these hot temperatures and if you're running on higher fuel. We'll look tonight at all the options and make sure we get the plan right for qualifying. It should be good fun tomorrow."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"It looks like everyone ran an unusual programme today in terms of tyres but we're all trying to get enough of the medium and hard into our qualifying and race allocation. The soft is a tricky tyre, it's working quite nicely on a single lap but on a long run it's not lasting long. We expect most teams will try to avoid that tyre in the race. The medium seems more durable and it's not much slower compared to the soft on a single lap. We've got a fair understanding of the track from last week, so we were able to use some of the running in free practice to sign off a few development parts and do some experiments. It's been pretty hot today but our pace looks reasonable for a Friday on both short and long runs which is useful as the hot weather looks like it will carry into Saturday and Sunday."
Verstappen again was there or thereabouts in FP1, ahead of the chasing pack but unable to catch Mercedes. He was pipped by his old team mate and foe Ricciardo in FP2, but nonetheless had a solid day. As for Albon, he struggled with understeer, only finding a comfortable balance on the harder compound tyres. He’ll need to find a way of making the soft compound work for him tomorrow if he’s to progress up the order come qualifying.
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:26.893, P3; FP2: 1:26.437, P4
“We did everything we wanted to today so I’m pretty pleased with that and overall it has been alright. The gap to Mercedes last weekend was big, so of course I think it’s quite normal that we can’t magically change things within a few days, but we are doing what we can. We tried a few things with the car, I think some were really decent but we will of course have to go through it properly tonight and see tomorrow. I think it could be quite close in qualifying with the group behind but then in the race it could be quite lonely again. The softer tyres had a lot more degradation today and I think it’s almost impossible to do a one stop now. I guess you will see a lot of two stop strategies in the race but I don’t expect the change in tyres to really set the order any differently.”
Alex Albon - FP1: 1:27.280, P6; FP2: 1:26.960, P11
“We’re making progress session by session in terms of trying to get what I want from the car and now we just need to do our homework tonight to come back stronger tomorrow. It was a pretty straightforward day and we played around with a few things to see what helped and what didn’t. This weekend the tyre compounds are a step softer which I’m not a huge fan of as I think they’re too soft for this circuit. Let’s see what everyone does tomorrow but I think it’s quicker to run on the mediums than the softs. The thing is we only have a certain number of medium and hard tyres for the weekend which means you’re a little stuck with strategy, so it will be important tomorrow which tyre you decide to run in each qualifying session. It’s only Friday and everyone’s hiding something today so tomorrow we’ll get a truer picture.”
It was a mixed day for the Scuderia. The good news was that once again Leclerc looked quick, and seems to have the edge on McLaren. The bad news was that Vettel struggled by comparison, winding up not just down the order, but also parked by the side of the road with a stricken SF1000 leaking oil. The team will have their work cut out tonight to investigate what went wrong for the German.
Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1m27.498s, P7, P20; FP2: 1m27.198s, P14
"We tried a couple of things today and overall I’m a little bit happier than last week, but we are not very competitive at the moment and we need to have a look at the data to see what we can work on. On the Soft tyre the car is good on the first lap, then it becomes a bit more difficult. We are trying to save the harder compounds for the race, so we need to see where we are in quali and then we will decide the strategy for the race. There are some key area where we need to try to improve the car. They are probably small things, but hopefully we will get a bit more competitive. On the engine failure I can say that it was very sudden. We have to see what it is but it will take some time, because the engine has to be sent to Maranello for analysis."
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1m27.062s, P5; FP2: 1m26.812s, P7
"It wasn’t bad today, although a bit more difficult than last Friday. We are working to try and understand the tyres, as there’s quite a big change of grip between the Medium and the Soft. We are a bit too slow on the Medium, which is unusual for us. The car balance feels pretty good, it’s just the general performance which is not as good as we had hoped for on the Medium. There are still a few things to work on in view of qualifying tomorrow with the aim of going through Q2 on Medium tyres, which we think a lot of cars will try to do. Anyway, it’ll be very interesting to see what compound everyone will start the race on and it should be an unpredictable race with many different strategies."
Hulkenberg was composed once more despite such limited time in the RP20, pipping his team mate in FP1. Stroll turned the tables come second practice, but the team won’t be pleased to find themselves well behind a Renault. Having struggled for pace last Sunday, have they found the answer here? Qualifying should be insightful, with whether the Pink Panthers use the soft or medium compound tyre in Q2 indicative of how confident they are feeling.
Nico Hulkenberg – FP1: 1m26.942s, P4; FP2: 1m26.746s, P6
"I’m feeling a lot more confident in the car: it helped that I was able to be in the simulator last week to prepare for the weekend. I’m much more familiar with how the team works and I’m more up to speed behind the wheel. It felt like a routine Friday and I was able to extract the pace of the car much more quickly today, which is a big positive. I’m pleased with today because we were able to try a few things with the set-up of the car, and it helped me adapt to the car. We were then able to work through today's programme effectively, which gives us a good starting point for the weekend. I felt that there was pace to be found on the medium tyre because I didn’t have a totally clean lap, and I left some time on the table at the final corner, but all in all, it was a positive Friday."
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1m27.539s, P8; FP2: 1m26.501s, P5
"It was definitely a positive day of running and it’s looking very tight between the teams. We’ve done plenty of laps around Silverstone now, which helps close all the gaps up, so it’s about maximising everything this weekend. We’ll go away tonight and make sure we come back tomorrow with the car dialled in and ready to go for qualifying. Pirelli has brought a softer range this weekend, which is giving all the teams a challenge because degradation is expected to be more of a factor in the race. Tomorrow’s practice will be important to help us prepare for qualifying, and I’m expecting an exciting race on Sunday."
Ricciardo shone in second practice having had a quiet morning session. He managed to grab the ‘best of the rest’ slot and finish eight-tenths back from Mercedes in what is a promising showing for the team, with one-lap pace their Achilles’ Heel of late. Ocon likewise had a decent day with plenty of laps under his belt, but couldn’t quite match his team mate for raw pace today.
Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1m27.701s, P10; FP2: 1m26.928s, P10
“The first thing we wanted to understand was the softer choice of tyres and that was an important area today. It looks positive and the car was clearly quite quick. Daniel’s run on the soft was certainly fast, which is good as we both tested different things and it’ll be interesting to see the comparisons. Hopefully we can repeat that tomorrow. We had a few problems here and there, but nothing too crazy and the car generally felt reasonable all day.”
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1m28.511s, P17; FP2: 1m26.421s, P3
“In the morning we did quite a bit of data gathering so we knew it wasn’t going to be totally representative. For the afternoon, we had a bit of a warm up, made a change to the car, which worked, and it felt great. We had a good run on the hard and then on the soft as well. On that soft run, we still missed out a bit in some areas, so there’s definitely more there. Our long runs also looked decent, so that’s a good base for Sunday. I think the wind direction is changing tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens there. Overall, it’s been a good day for us.”
Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer
“We’ve had quite a good day with both cars getting through their programs smoothly. Our focus in the morning was on various aero assessments and we spent some time in both sessions understanding the soft tyre in particular, which is a step softer this week. We’re pretty happy with our work today. Everybody ran the same tyres in the morning session, but we have done something different with our tyres compared to most others in the afternoon, and it will be interesting to see how the consequences of that shake out through the rest of the weekend. Both drivers are happy with their car and as normal for a Friday, we have some work to do to find a little bit extra for tomorrow. Daniel’s soft tyre run in the afternoon was quite quick, but it’s only Friday, so we’re not getting too excited!”
McLaren were running plenty of flow-vis paint in FP1 as they continued to gather aero data, but they knuckled down in the afternoon to climb into the top 10. Sainz did have a moment, running wide as his tyres started to lose grip but bar that it was a clean and composed day for the team who will be confident of another double Q3 appearance tomorrow.
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1m28.138s, P14; FP2: 1m26.918s, P9
“A bit of a different Friday, choosing to run only soft tyres through the whole day. All cars seem to struggle with degradation, so it was important to gather as much information as possible to learn on that side. Tyre choice will play a big part for the rest of the weekend, so we needed as much data as possible in order to take better decisions.
“Generally, the feeling with the car in FP2 was quite decent. We need to double-check the speed on the straights, as usual in Silverstone, but in general the feeling was fine today.”
Lando Norris - FP1: 1m27.846s, P12; FP2: 1m26.867s, P8
“A tricky day, not as straightforward as last weekend. Trying to understand these tyres was a bit more difficult as they are quite soft. Obviously, everyone out there lapped pretty well on new tyres, but they degrade a lot in the high-fuel long runs. So, we’re struggling with getting them to last, but at the same time I think we got a good understanding of the balance. Like last week, I think conditions are going to change quite a lot come tomorrow, so we’ll wait to see what happens.”
Andrea Stella, Racing Director
“For the second week in a row, we had good conditions at Silverstone for Friday practice, and this allowed us to work uninterrupted on our objectives. This weekend, those were to find some incremental gains in our performance, and also to develop a better understanding of these tyres.
“Tyres, obviously, are a key topic this weekend – not just because of the failures during the British Grand Prix, but also because the allocation is a step softer, which is obviously quite extreme at a demanding track like this one. Our sessions went well, we have gathered good data and we’ll analyse this overnight to give us the best of chance making Q3 and scoring good points in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday.”
A good day for AlphaTauri who seem comfortable at this track. They were solidly in and around the top 10 which bodes well for tomorrow, with Kvyat getting the better of his team mate in both sessions. The Russian did have a moment with Sainz as they squabbled for track position but other than that, it was a calm and collected performance.
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1m27.707s, P11; FP2: 1m27.128s, P13
“Today I didn’t feel as good in the car as last weekend, so we’ve done many tests between FP1 and FP2. We wanted to try different set up directions to improve the car but I didn’t feel like we’ve found the best set up yet. I was pretty happy straight away last weekend, so we’ll need to analyse everything tonight and work from there. The gaps are really small but if we want to have a chance for Q3, I think we’ll need to find a bit more performance for tomorrow.”
Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1m27.653s, P9; FP2: 1m27.002s, P12
“It was a decent Friday and we did quite a lot of productive laps today. The C4 wasn’t a big surprise, we will continue to make our tyre evaluation to understand what they like or dislike, and as usual, we will analyse all the data to come back tomorrow in the best possible shape for both qualifying and the race.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“We came to Silverstone for the second weekend in a row, which meant we could continue the set-up work that we started here at the last event, with the advantage that we know we have a good baseline to roll back on. We were able to be a bit braver with some of our set up changes and we could push the envelope of the car a little bit more than you would on a normal Friday when you first hit the track for only one weekend, so we brought some new ideas on how to maximize the performance of the car that we’ve got. The cars started the day exploring different directions and the performance we showed in FP1 was promising, so we could build on that for FP2 and make some further changes. The tyres this weekend are going to be one of the biggest topics: the C4 is quite aggressive, and there does not seem to be a big lap time difference between the C3 and the C4 for qualifying. You could see from FP2 that there were a range of tyre strategies across the grid, with some using the base tyre and others only the options, I think that’s going to make tomorrow very interesting. Now we have to look through all the data we gathered today to find the best tyre strategy and car set-up going into qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.”
Magnussen locked up in FP1 and flat spotted his tyres, losing running as a result. That left Grosjean to fly the flag and gather data for the team. The Dane again made a mistake in FP2, running wide through Chapel and kicking up dirt, but fortunately that didn’t affect his session this time around. As for Grosjean, he had a good afternoon but the team do still seem to lack pace here, and might struggle tomorrow as a result.
Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1m27.908s, P13; FP2: 1m27.294s, P15
“It was a good Friday, you know, P13, P15 – those are the positions we’re fighting for. The car felt absolutely mega from the morning. We worked around tricky conditions with the hot, softer tyres and then the wind also picked up a little more this afternoon, which made things a bit more interesting. Generally, I’ve been very happy with the car though. I think we’ve done a good job; I think we’re moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can find a little bit more for the race on Sunday. We know what we have with our package and we always push as hard as we can.”
Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1m29.319s, P20; FP2: 1m27.582s, P18
“We couldn’t really get the car working in FP1, but it was a lot better in FP2. We’re lacking a little bit of straight-line speed compared to the other car. We lost a little bit of time, but we know it’s got to be there somewhere. The car was much better in the corners, handling-wise, as a positive. It’s tricky this time around as we have these softer tyres. It’s a challenge. The higher pressures aren’t making it easier, it’s tough, but I guess those things are the same for everyone. It’s going to be interesting to see what we do with strategy and how to manage these soft tyres on the track. Last week the car handled very well so we need to get it back into the same kind of handling. It’s obviously slightly different with these tyres, we at least have the C2 and C3 knowledge from last week, but the C4 tyre is a completely different story.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“I would say it was a good FP1 and FP2 for us – we had no problems, no issues, we found we had a good balance. For sure, there is more work to be done, but I think we got out of the car what we could, and we learned a lot in doing it. I think we’ve improved the car from where we were last week with all the team continuing to work here over the week. We just need a little bit more, we’re trying to squeeze everything out of it that we can at the moment. Hopefully tomorrow we can make another step and get into Q2 in qualifying – that’s our aim. Everybody’s working hard to achieve that.”
It was another below-par day for Alfa, with Raikkonen running wide on a number of occasions as he struggled with both balance and grip. Kubica was in the cockpit for Giovinazzi in FP1, the Italian taking the reins in the afternoon. But it all went wrong in the closing stages of the session when he stopped the car out on track with an apparent engine issue, bringing out the red flags.
Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1m28.655s, P18; FP2: 1m27.535s, P17
“The car felt a little bit better than last weekend but there’s still plenty of speed to be found. It was a fairly straightforward Friday, we are working to get some more performance for tomorrow but we will only find where we really stand in qualifying. As always here, we will need to see what conditions we have tomorrow: hopefully we will make a little step forward and improve.”
Robert Kubica – FP1: 1m28.960s, P19
“Silverstone is one of the greatest tracks to drive an F1 car, especially in the fast corners. It was a bit of a shock coming in after racing in DTM last week, but it didn’t take me long to settle in. The car feels pretty good, something I noticed since the tests in Barcelona, but there is still work to do to find more speed. We are working, trying hard to bring more performance but so is everyone: we will need to do our best to gain some ground on everyone else.”
Antonio Giovinazzi - FP2: 1m27.955s, P20
“It’s always a bit of a challenge to come in after sitting a session out, but we have plenty of data from last week to help us out. We got good info from FP2, we managed to do at least one run during our qualifying simulation and a high-fuel run even though we had to stop the session with a minute to go due to a small technical issue. As always on Friday, we will need to go through all the data we collected and find the best way forward to be in a better shape come qualifying.”
Russell continued from last weekend and looks to have the beating of the Alfa and Haas teams, so could sneak into Q2 if he can maintain that form. Latifi is lagging slightly behind, but still managed a decent number of laps as he gets to grips with the FW43.
George Russell – FP1: 1m28.170s, P15; FP2: 1m27.320s, P16
"It was good fun out there and the conditions were very different to last week. It was very tricky on the C4 tyre, but I think everybody found that tough. At least a third of the grid set their quickest time on the medium tyre and not on the soft. I think it will be an interesting and tricky qualifying session. I think if you play it right you can set your quickest lap on the mediums, so there will be some interesting strategies tomorrow."
Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1m28.226s, P16; FP2: 1m27.683s, P19
"Overall it was a positive day. Straight away coming back to the same track you already feel in the rhythm. FP1 was quite good and the balance was feeling nice on the new C4 tyre. In all honestly, I struggled to find a comfortable balance in FP2, but again we were just trying some different things. I think it’s going to be quite an exciting and unpredictable race. I’m not sure how the tyre compounds are going to react so I’m looking forward to it. I think if we can show what we showed today, then we will be quite competitive."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"We had another productive day, with both sessions providing some very useful testing opportunities. The change in tyre compound stiffness from last week – one-step softer – and the lighter winds have changed the car a little since last week. However, we were still able to evaluate some new parts and ideas whilst also understanding the behaviour of the soft tyre. The car continues to improve, and we are confident that we can consolidate the performance improvement seen last week. The next group of cars are still a little way down the road, but everyone is pushing hard to help us get closer to the heart of the midfield as soon as possible.
"Both drivers did well today and having back-to-back races at the same venue affords them a rare opportunity to complete some different tests. Both drivers have embraced the tests and provided us with valuable feedback, which will help us set the car ready for what looks likely to be two more warm days here at Silverstone."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"With a nomination that’s one step softer compared to last weekend and a track that is notoriously demanding on tyres, the teams certainly had plenty to think about and try out in free practice, even though they were only here a week ago. With two stops likely to be the norm on Sunday, a wide variety of race strategies are possible. As expected on the softest compound in particular, we saw some blistering, but also a very rapid speed over one lap that’s likely to lead to a new track record this weekend. There’s no doubt that the soft won’t be the favoured race tyre, so the challenge is to get the most out of it as part of an overall grand prix weekend strategy, which will start with the decisions made during qualifying tomorrow. The information gained today will be an important part of that decision-making process."