The fifth race weekend of the FIA Formula One World Championship is underway at the classic Silverstone Circuit for the second week in a row concluding this seasons’ British double-header, and Lewis Hamilton has topped the timesheets in the second practice session of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Unfortunate news for BWT Racing Point F1 Team emerged in the hours leading up to Free Practice One as the team were docked 15 points and fined €400,000 for breaching the sporting regulations after Renault DP World F1 Team’s mounting protests from previous races questioning the legality of the RP20’s brake ducts were upheld. The team has been under fire all year for sharing striking similarities to last year’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car the Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+– and the stewards have finally come to the conclusion that the car has indeed broken the 2020 rules.
Prior to the first race last week, race director Michael Masi was keen to declare the FIA would be clamping down on track-limits abuse after controversy in both Austria and Hungary, and such rules have carried over for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Any driver that exceeds the notorious black and white kerbs of Silverstone (particularly at Stowe and Copse) will have their laps invalidated and deleted, with more severe punishments being reserved for multiple offences.
Due to many drivers having brush-ups with the grass through Chapel last weekend, a new entry kerb extension has been implemented to prevent dust being kicked up and obscuring the dangerously fast second sector.
Interestingly, tyres for this race are softer than the introductory British race, and so the teams will be utilising Pirelli’s C2, C3, and C4 compounds. At the 2020 British Grand Prix one week earlier, the tyres were in-fact harder yet they still experienced extreme forces and subsequent punctures– leading to questions about whether the softer compounds would actually be used for the next rce. Nevertheless, Pirelli have reassured teams that the tyres are safe for use.
Free Practice Two began at 15:00 BST with a faster start than usual as the drivers have had more than enough running on the circuit already this year. Kevin Magnussen was the first out on track for Haas F1 Team, running the mediums to assess the pace of the softer tyres.
Lance Stroll was eager to get out on track and complete his first few laps on the red-marked C1 tyre, aiming to get a feel of the track with the new compound. He went on to finish the session fifth.
The two Mercedes’ seemed to lessen their focus on Qualifying pace, and rightly so. The drivers were seconds faster than most of the field last week, with Valtteri Bottas‘ gap to the next fastest car of Max Verstappen more than seven tenths.
Romain Grosjean seemed to have an apparent brake bias issue in the middle of the session, complaining about problems under braking over the radio. The Frenchman appeared to have rectified the problem shortly after but finished a disappointing fifteenth.
After a chaotic and disappointing British GP, Alexander Albon continued to wrestle with his RB16 in practice- experiencing noticeable understeer in both practice sessions so far. Taking onboard knowledgeable engineer Simon Rennie for the foreseeable future, The Thai driver had hoped to improve his lack of pace this weekend; so far the timesheets don’t look too promising, and he finishes eleventh.
Returning to an F1 cockpit once more to fill in for Sergio Pérez, Nico Hülkenberg carried on his stand-out Friday pace in this session. The German struggled with seat-fit affairs during the latter part of Free Practice two but still managed to set a highly respectable lap time of a 1:26.746.
Sebastian Vettel’s routinely dismal season has persisted today, with the four-time World Champion falling victim to a catastrophic engine failure towards the closing stages of second practice. It seems as if Scuderia Ferrari have the worst luck in the paddock at the moment; Charles Leclerc didn’t set a very awe-inspiring lap time either, concluding the day in seventh.
With just minutes to go, the session was red-flagged and ended due to what looked to be a mechanical failure for Antonio Giovinazzi.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:25.606||22|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:25.782||0.176s||22|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:26.421||0.815s||29|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:26.437||0.831s||15|
|5||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:26.501||0.895s||24|
|6||27||Nico Hülkenberg||GER||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:26.746||1.140s||26|
|7||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:26.812||1.206s||32|
|8||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:26.867||1.261s||36|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:26.918||1.312s||24|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:26.928||1.322s||25|
|11||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:26.960||1.354s||25|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:27.002||1.396s||33|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:27.128||1.522s||31|
|14||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:27.198||1.592s||30|
|15||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:27.294||1.688s||28|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:27.320||1.714s||31|
|17||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:27.535||1.929s||30|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:27.582||1.976s||28|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:27.683||2.077s||32|
|20||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:27.955||2.349s||26|