Williams Martini Racing’s practice pace at Silverstone has been “encouraging” in preparation for the British Grand Prix, according to Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe.
Following a poor qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring, Williams secured its first double-points finish last time out, which the team is looking to build on for its home race.
Although the first practice sessions were not entirely untroubled for the Grove-based outfit, Lowe was happy with the level of running achieved by both drivers.
“It’s great to be back at Silverstone,” said Lowe, “and it’s good to have some dry weather to complete our programme.
“In FP1 we did some tests with some different aerodynamic configurations. Unfortunately, we damaged some parts on both cars because of hitting the kerb at Turn 9, so that lost us a few laps with both Felipe (Massa) and Lance (Stroll).”
“In FP2 we were able to complete all of our running on the different tyres. The pace looks encouraging on both low and high fuel.
“For Lance, Silverstone is one of the more difficult circuits to learn. But we’re pleased with the progress that he’s been able to make throughout the day. Qualifying is what matters though, so we’ll see what more we can do overnight.”
Lowe accepted that the practice sessions were also vital in getting Stroll up to speed, with the Canadian finishing fifteenth in both free practice sessions, and the teenager said it was a fun day behind the wheel of the FW40.
“This is a great track to drive, the grip is high and the car is a lot of fun around here,” said Stroll. “It was not a bad day, but there are a few things to improve on from my side
“I think it’s going to be quite tight in the mid group tomorrow, so I am going to have to improve on a few things overnight. However, I am confident we have a good car so am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Veteran driver Massa was eighth fastest in both sessions, and was pleased overall with his Friday running.
“It was a normal Friday, with no problems related to what we had in Austria,” said Massa. “Everything was working in the normal way and I was happy with the balance of the car.
“With the tyres, we were able to get them working on the first lap, and everything with the car felt normal. The car feels competitive in the way it should be, so, on the whole, it was a good Friday.”