Bottas edges Hamilton in Friday practice for British GP
Valtteri Bottas topped the times on Friday in practice for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, although Lewis Hamilton was only 0.047secs slower as Mercedes set the standard.
Bottas was quickest in both sessions at Silverstone, posting a 1 minute 29.106 second lap in the morning (0.078s up on Hamilton), before lowering the marker to a 1m 28.496s this afternoon.
Hamilton, however, set his best lap of the day in FP2 on the soft tyre, after he went off a Becketts on his supersoft run.
The Briton was one of a number of drivers to struggle in that particular corner, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, as well as Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz also having problems and either running wide or spinning.
“We’ve started the weekend really well,” Bottas said. “In the first session, the balance was not too far away, so a positive start.
“There is still work to do to get the car more driveable and to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners. But overall I think it was a good start for the weekend. We just need to work as normal and try and make improvements for tomorrow.”
“Today’s been a really good start to the weekend and it’s great to be back here at Silverstone,” Hamilton added. “The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars.
“It was already one of the very best circuits in the world, but with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it’s just phenomenal, it’s like the greatest rollercoaster ride ever.
“We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance and I think we’re in a good position at this early stage of the weekend. We still need to build upon it, but it’s a great foundation moving forward.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 14, 2017
Behind, Raikkonen was closest to the Mercs, 0.332secs off Bottas, and 0.128secs up on Vettel in the sister Ferrari.
Vettel incidentally ran with the new shield device at the start of FP1 – an alternative to the halo and the aeroscreen, although he only did three installation laps.
“The vision is not very good [with the shield cockpit protection] and I think it’s because of the curvature that creates a bit of distortion. We had a run plan but I didn’t like it too much. I couldn’t see much, but at the end it was fun to drive,” Vettel noted.
“Overall it was a bit mixed for us today. This morning we had difficulties with the balance to start with, but overall I think we improved the car at the end of the session.
“On Friday you don’t seek much the performance and this new engine has a lot of miles to do, so we try to save it. It’s working well and we didn’t have problems. But we still have to do more and to improve. We have a lot of things to look at. Mercedes looks quick but it’s not a surprise.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 14, 2017
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were next up in fifth and sixth for Red Bull, split by three tenths of a second. Verstappen was held up by Felipe Massa going into Turn 16 near the end of FP2, with the incident first noted by the stewards, before they confirmed it would be investigated.
Nico Hulkenberg was an encouraging seventh for Renault, with Massa’s Williams and McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso eighth and ninth respectively.
Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten for Force India followed by the Toro Rosso’s of Sainz and Daniil Kvyat in P11 and P12.
Further back, Force India’s Sergio Perez, Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean, Williams’ Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne filled positions 13 through to 16.
Kevin Magnussen, who sat out FP1 while Antonio Giovinazzi got a run in the Haas, took 17th, from Renault’s Jolyon Palmer – hindered by yet more technical issues – and the Sauber’s of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein, who were slowest.
Practice 2 times available – HERE
Practice 1 times available – HERE