Friday’s second practice session for the British Grand Prix saw Valtteri Bottas narrowly edge his Mercedes-AMG teammate Lewis Hamilton, with the Silver Arrows once again outpacing arch-rivals Ferrari.
As had been the case in FP1 earlier in the day, Bottas proved the pace-setter throughout the 90-minute session. Unlike the prior session, however – where a last-minute lap by Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly saw him snatch top spot – the Finn proved untouchable, posting a best time of 1:26.732 on a qualifying-style simulation.
His session did not go completely to plan, with his final 30 minutes of planned running compromised by a car issue that kept him in the garage when he would normally be conducting a high-fuel race-style simulation.
Teammate Hamilton, a five time Grand Prix winner at Silverstone, was Bottas’ closest threat. The current championship leader’s fastest lap of the session was just 0.069 seconds slower, with the Englishman also having a wobble through the Becketts-Maggots sweeps.
The Mercedes duo’s closest challenge came from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The Monégasque driver’s quickest lap was less than two-tenths of a second shy of Bottas’ and a quarter of a second up on teammate and defending British Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel, whose session came to a premature end when he reported a loss of battery charge.
Friday morning pace-setter Gasly had to settle for fifth-fastest in his Red Bull Honda, half a second down on Bottas’ ultimate lap time. His teammate Max Verstappen ended a frustrating Friday seventh-quickest in the sister RB15, struggling with the balance of his car in the blustery conditions.
The Red Bull teammates were split by McLaren’s Lando Norris, who once again proved McLaren’s faith in extending his contract. The youngster was one of several drivers caught out by the crosswinds that lashed the Silverstone circuit, and like his compatriot Hamilton, went off-track at the Becketts-Maggots sweepers.
With his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing eighth-fastest, it was another positive Friday for the ever-improving McLaren team. The Woking squad once again showed up the factory Renault squad, which slipped down the timesheets after having both drivers inside the top-ten in FP1.
Daniel Ricciardo (14th-fastest) interrupted everyone’s high-fuel simulations by triggering a Virtual Safety Car in the final fifteen minutes when he was forced to stop his car at the Becketts-Maggots sweeps; teammate Nico Hülkenberg was 15th-fastest.
After an embarrassing crash at the pit exit in FP1, Romain Grosjean’s troubled British Grand Prix weekend continued into FP2. The French driver spent the first 40 minutes of the session in the Haas garages while a hydraulics leak was fixed; he finished the session 18th-fastest ahead of only the two Williams’ of Robert Kubica and George Russell – the latter also had his session cut short with a fluid leak.
|FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:26.732||25|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:26.801||+ 0.069||35|
|3.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:26.929||+ 0.197||30|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:27.180||+ 0.448||30|
|5.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:27.249||+ 0.517||31|
|6.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:27.546||+ 0.814||38|
|7.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:27.562||+ 0.830||32|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:27.987||+ 1.255||39|
|9.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:27.997||+ 1.265||38|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:28.002||+ 1.270||32|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:28.008||+ 1.276||36|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:28.059||+ 1.327||30|
|13.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:28.126||+ 1.394||33|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:28.128||+ 1.396||17|
|15.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:28.217||+ 1.485||34|
|16.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:28.240||+ 1.508||37|
|17.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:28.294||+ 1.562||28|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:28.794||+ 2.062||26|
|19.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:29.935||+ 3.203||37|
|20.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:30.514||+ 3.782||11|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport