Nico Hülkenberg was left feeling positive about his performance during Friday practice for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, with the German able to extract more performance from the RP20 than he was able to do at the same venue seven days ago.
Hülkenberg’s services were called upon again by the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team following the news that Sergio Pérez was once again unavailable following a second positive test for coronavirus.
The German, a veteran of one-hundred and seventy-seven races in Formula 1, spent a lot of time working in the Racing Point simulator to help familiarise himself with the RP20 in case Pérez was unavailable, and he made good use of his track time on Friday to place fourth and sixth across the two sessions.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident in the car: it helped that I was able to be in the simulator last week to prepare for the weekend,” said Hülkenberg. “I’m much more familiar with how the team works and I’m more up to speed behind the wheel.
“It felt like a routine Friday and I was able to extract the pace of the car much more quickly today, which is a big positive. I’m pleased with today because we were able to try a few things with the set-up of the car, and it helped me adapt to the car.
“We were then able to work through today’s programme effectively, which gives us a good starting point for the weekend. I felt that there was pace to be found on the medium tyre because I didn’t have a totally clean lap, and I left some time on the table at the final corner, but all in all, it was a positive Friday.”
“It was definitely a positive day of running” – Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll was outpaced by Hülkenberg in the morning session, ending more than half a second down on the German, but the Canadian rebounded in the afternoon to finish fifth, two-tenths quicker than his team-mate.
Stroll says there is not much performance difference between many of the teams on the grid so it will be important to maximise Qualifying on Saturday with the final practice session important for them to understand the tyres to be truly competitive.
“It was definitely a positive day of running and it’s looking very tight between the teams,” said Stroll. “We’ve done plenty of laps around Silverstone now, which helps close all the gaps up, so it’s about maximising everything this weekend.
“We’ll go away tonight and make sure we come back tomorrow with the car dialled in and ready to go for qualifying. Pirelli has brought a softer range this weekend, which is giving all the teams a challenge because degradation is expected to be more of a factor in the race.
“Tomorrow’s practice will be important to help us prepare for qualifying, and I’m expecting an exciting race on Sunday.”