It was another dramatic practice session at the British Grand Prix, with Friday’s on-track action ending with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel edging championship rival Lewis Hamilton to the top of the time sheets.
The championship leader beat the Mercedes driver – who was fastest in today’s opening practice session – into second place by just 0.187 seconds, marking the first time this season he has been quickest of all in an FP2 session.
The pair was chased by their respective teammates. Valtteri Bottas, whose Mercedes was fitted with a new power unit after his DNF in Austria, finished third-quickest ahead of the second Ferrari driven by his Finnish compatriot Kimi Räikkönen.
Red Bull Racing had a mixed session. With its TAG-badged Renault power units proving wanting on a circuit with 80% full throttle, Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth-quickest, albeit eight-tenths of a second slower than Vettel’s ultimate pace.
Teammate Max Verstappen, winner last time out in Austria, was hoping for an incident free session after he was forced to stop his car in FP1 with an apparent gearbox issue. The Dutch youngster missed out on vital track running while his car was repaired and only turned two laps before he crashed out at Luffield. He appeared to lose the back end of his car and spin into the barriers, breaking his right rear suspension against the barriers.
The session was red-flagged so his stricken car could be removed safely, but the incident marked yet another driving error this season.
It was a similarly mixed bag at McLaren, which has been in the spotlight in the wake of the sudden resignation of Racing Director Eric Boullier in the days leading up to its home Grand Prix. After an indifferent opening practice session, Fernando Alonso finished ‘best of the rest’ in sixth-fastest, while teammate Stoffel Vandoorne complained about his Renault-powered car’s handling and finished a lowly 17th-fastest.
The Renault team showed improved pace in the hot conditions, with Nico Hülkenberg less an one-tenth of a second behind Alonso in seventh. Teammate Carlos Sainz finished eleventh-fastest as the team looks to return to points’ finishes after a non-score last time out in Austria.
The factory Renault drivers were split by the two Force Indias, with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez eighth and ninth respectively, while Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed the top ten with another impressive showing for the improving Swiss team. Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericsson was fourteenth-fastest.
The Haas team had just one car in action during the session. Romain Grosjean was sidelined while his mechanics prepared a new chassis in the wake of his heavy crash in FP1, leaving teammate Kevin Magnussen to be the team’s workhorse – he finished 12th fastest.
Toro Rosso had a troubled session which will put the Italian team on the back foot ahead of Saturday’s all important qualifying session. Pierre Gasly finished 12th-fastest but was forced to park his STR13 with mechanical dramas after clocking up just 16 laps. Teammate Brendon Hartley was slowest of those to set a time, finishing behind the Williams duo of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, and the aforementioned Vandoorne.
|FORMULA 1 2018 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:27.552||36|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:27.739||+ 0.187||32|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:27.909||+ 0.357||30|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:28.045||+ 0.493||34|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:28.408||+ 0.856||31|
|6.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:29.306||+ 1.754||31|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:29.354||+ 1.802||35|
|8.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:29.467||+ 1.915||33|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:29.522||+ 1.970||32|
|10.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:29.557||+ 2.005||30|
|11.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:29.563||+ 2.011||36|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:29.617||+ 2.065||33|
|13.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:29.831||+ 2.279||16|
|14.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:30.046||+ 2.494||32|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:30.069||+ 2.517||34|
|16.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:30.103||+ 2.551||36|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:30.121||+ 2.569||31|
|18.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:30.404||+ 2.852||36|
|19.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||no time||2|
|20.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||no time||0|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari