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British GP: Free Practice

An update from Free Practice for the British Grand Prix as the Bulls get set for the Round 10 of the F1 season.

Silverstone this season is race 10 of 21, so we should know everything there is to know about these cars by now – but it doesn’t work that way. There hasn’t been a track like Silverstone so far this year – which is why we’re seeing Pirelli’s ‘ice blue’ hard tyre for the first time. Silverstone is high speed, high downforce. Plenty of the tracks we’ve been to so far have quick corners, but nowhere else so far do they keep coming at you like they do here.

Basically, as soon as the cars accelerate out of Luffield (Turn 7), they’re on the gas all the way to Vale (T16), never dropping below sixth gear. Copse and Stowe are massively quick but it’s the bit in the middle, the S-bends through Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel that really show an F1 car at its best. Screaming into these in eighth gear, the fast change of direction on the very limit of grip is what F1 cars are all about. Nothing else on the planet can do it.

Practice was all the more important then and in Free Practice One, Daniel took P4 with a 1:28.144 from his 30 laps. Max notched up 24 laps for the session before it came to a premature end due to a suspected gearbox issue. FP1 ended with P6 and 1:28.325 for our dutchman. Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets with a 1:27.487.

It prooved to be another frustrating session for Max in Free Practice Two, after an early off at Turn 7 ended his session early, without setting a time. A 1:28.408 for Daniel put him P5 however, completing a further 29 laps. Topping the timing sheet was Sebastian Vettel with a 1:27.552.

Saturday offered the opportunity for Max to make up for lost time on Friday, and he wasted no time in taking to Free Practice Three to set a 1:28.012 for P5, completing the most laps of anyone for the session with 21. Daniel was just 0.006 back with a 1:28.018 putting him in P6 from his 14 laps. Topping the timesheets was Lewis Hamilton with a 1:26.722.  

 

After Friday's practice sesions, Daniel said:
“It was actually pretty warm for Silverstone which we aren’t used to. I normally bring a ski jacket here, even in July (laughs). We weren’t really quick enough today. We will try and improve a few things which will hopefully put us a bit closer tomorrow but it seems for now quite a big step to Ferrari and Mercedes who look really strong. We certainly lose a fair bit of power, on the overlays you can see we are able to gain a bit in some corners but then we lose a bit of that and more. We will do what we can but at the moment we aren’t on their pace. Just keeping the tyres in a good condition in these uncharacteristically hot conditions is key, if we can get on top of that then maybe in the longer runs when we get into the race on Sunday it will come to us. I don’t think we can expect too much in Qualifying and if we are to qualify on the third row we really need to understand how to make the tyres go longer and then hopefully we will have a chance on Sunday. One thing is for sure, it was fun keeping it open all the way through turns one and two.”

Summarising his day, Max said:
“In FP1 I had a problem with the gearbox but I don’t know exactly what that is yet. In FP2 I think I was a bit too quick on the hard tyre; I tried to go too fast through the corner and I just lost it. The feeling is good and the car is working quite well but we are just losing a lot of time on the straights which is unfortunate. The hard tyre was very stiff, I only did a few corners on it but it didn’t feel fantastic. I expected with the new surface that it would be a lot smoother but it wasn’t, some of the really big bumps have gone but anyway, it is always really good to drive on this track with such fast corners. I always feel good here. Of course it’s not ideal to lose a session but I felt confident already in FP1. It seems like we may not be fighting for pole but we will try again tomorrow and at least I have two sets of soft tyres, which is positive. FP3 is still long enough to understand the car and tyres and anyway I will have Daniel’s data from today. We will be ok.”