FP2: Vettel Edges Hamilton as Verstappen Crashes Out
Sebastian Vettel showed Lewis Hamilton he won’t have it all his own way at his home Grand Prix as he beat the British driver into second place in Friday’s second practice session at Silverstone. For Red Bull, meanwhile, there were more issues, as Max Verstappen crashed out after less than two laps on track…
In glorious sunny conditions, Vettel finished 0.187s ahead of his Mercedes rival – who set the quickest time in FP1 – to top an FP2 session for the first time this season.
The second Silver Arrow of Valtteri Bottas, fitted with a new Mercedes power unit this weekend after his retirement in Austria, finished three tenths of a second behind the Ferrari pacesetter in third, with the sister Prancing Horse of Kimi Raikkonen fourth best.
But while things went well for the championship’s top two teams, last week’s winners Red Bull had another mixed session. Daniel Ricciardo finished eight tenths adrift of Vettel in P5, but team mate Verstappen, hoping for an incident-free session after his RB14 crawled to a halt towards the end of FP1 after suffering a gearbox failure, ended up without a time after losing the rear of his car at Luffield with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
The Dutchman ended up backwards in the barrier with his rear suspension broken – and race control had no choice but to red flag the session in order to remove his stricken machine.
McLaren, desperate for a good weekend on home soil following Eric Boullier’s departure, had a similarly mixed time. After a low-key FP1, Fernando Alonso found some impressive form in second practice, finishing ‘best of the rest’ in sixth. Team mate Vandoorne, meanwhile, was a distant 17th after complaining of a couple of car issues.
McLaren’s nearest midfield rivals were Renault, Nico Hulkenberg less than a tenth behind two-time world champion Alonso in seventh. His team mate Carlos Sainz was four places back in 11th, and the French team will be keen to continue this progress after a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix.
That race in Spielberg saw their midfield rivals Force India enjoy their best result of the season, and they looked in good form on the opening day at Silverstone with Esteban Ocon in eighth and team mate Sergio Perez in P9.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc completed the top ten, despite a spin at Brooklands, while Marcus Ericsson capped a promising day of running for the Swiss team by coming 14th.
Haas ran just one car after Romain Grosjean was forced to sit out after his FP1 shunt, with Kevin Magnussen settling for 12th place ahead of Pierre Gasly, who was forced to park his Toro Rosso with a mechanical issue with just 16 laps on the board.
The timesheet was rounded out by Williams duo Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and the other Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.
Two sessions down then and two different leaders. All to play for at Silverstone on Saturday…