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Friday analysis - Red Bull on the rise

03 Jul 2015

Perfect weather enabled everyone to get their tyre comparisons and development test programmes done without external interruption at Silverstone on Friday. Some suffered on the medium rubber, and many complained about strong winds. We take a team-by-team look at the day one progress in Great Britain…

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1m 34.274s, P1/1m 34.155s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 34.344s, P2/1m 34.621s, P4

Rosberg lost much of FP1 with a hydraulic problem that kept his F1 W06 Hybrid in the garage, but the mechanics did a tremendous job to change the gearbox in just 42 minutes. He still had some gearshift problems in FP2, but even so was fastest in both sessions. The team, meanwhile, earned a reprimand after covering parts of Rosberg’s car while recovering it in the first session.

Hamilton had been fastest in FP1 right until the end, when Rosberg got running again and slipped ahead by 0.070s, and was again fastest on the hard Pirelli in FP2. He didn’t find a very big improvement when he switched to the mediums late on however. Both drivers say they have further work to do on set-up.

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 35.588s, P4/1m 34.502s, P2
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 35.739s, P6/1m 34.522s, P3

Raikkonen said that he felt happier on Pirelli’s medium tyre than the hard, but both he and Vettel were generally satisfied with their day’s work - with the usual caveat that it’s only Friday. It remains to be seen whether the team were running on low fuel.

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 35.876s, P8/1m 35.009s, P5
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 35.818s, P7/1m 35.153s, P6

Both drivers cautiously welcomed the upgrades Red Bull brought for the RB11, and Kvyat said that they “more or less” performed as expected. The Russian in particular impressed, booking fifth in FP2 while running on the hard compound. Red Bull’s long-run pace, in addition, looks very impressive.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 1m 35.530s, P3/1m 35.300s, P7
Carlos Sainz, 1m 35.669s, P5/1m 35.866s, P9

Both drivers thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of pedalling the STR10 around Silverstone and were satisfied with the way things went.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 36.157s, P9/1m 35.387s, P8
Sergio Perez, 1m 36.889s, P12/1m 36.351s, P13

Force India finally brought their full-spec updated VJM08 and Hulkenberg in particular showed it to have a lot of potential. The team are still finalising the set-up as they learn about the way in which the configuration works best, but booking a slot in the top 10 in both sessions means things look promising.

Williams

Felipe Massa, 1m 36.469s, P10/1m 36.147s, P10
Valtteri Bottas (pm only), 1m 36.183s, P12
Susie Wolff (am only), 1m 37.242s, P13

Williams acknowledged that they have work to do on their balance and set-up, especially for qualifying, but said that their race pace wasn’t far off where they expected to be.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, 1m 38.080s, P16/1m 36.164s, P11
Romain Grosjean (pm only), 1m 36.728s, P14
Jolyon Palmer (am only) 1m 37.262s, P14

Palmer did another strong job in FP1 to head Maldonado, but Grosjean spun off at Luffield soon after taking his car back in FP2. So far, the team have yet to fully unlock the E23 Hybrid’s potential.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso, 1m 38.222s, P17/1m 36.731s, P15
Jenson Button, 1m 38.860s, P18/1m 37.196s, P17

McLaren have reverted to older engines for this race, preferring to avoid penalties after damage was discovered on Alonso’s Austrian power unit and there was a question over a sensor on Button’s (this was despite the new ruling by the Strategy Group that they may, after all, use an additional engine this year). To save the engines neither driver ventured out until the final half hour of FP1; Alonso then had a ‘deployment’ issue which cost him time as he was called back in. Button complained that his car was bouncing viciously in FP2, so clearly there is plenty of work to do tonight.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, 1m 36.855s, P11/1m 36.822s, P16
Marcus Ericsson (pm only), 1m 37.327s, P18
Raffaele Marciello (am only), 1m 37.372s, P15

Sauber reported a productive day, but Nasr said that they struggled on the medium tyre. Ericsson, meanwhile, found it difficult to settle into a rhythm after sitting out FP1 for Raffaele Marciello.

Marussia

Will Stevens, 1m 38.981s, P19/1m 38.279s, P19
Roberto Merhi, 1m 40.477s, P20/1m 39.878s, P20

Marussia had a good day and were happy with their upgraded parts, but Merhi struggled on his first experience of Silverstone in an F1 car and caused a brief red flag in FP2 after spinning at Luffield. Stevens was significantly faster in both sessions.