Bottas fastest in first practice

Photo of author

By admin

Valtteri Bottas
Second practice is live on the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 15:00 BST

Valtteri Bottas was fastest as he and Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes to a one-two in first practice at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Back at Silverstone for the second time in a week in this coronavirus-reshaped year, Mercedes were as strong as ever.

Bottas was 0.138 seconds quicker than Hamilton with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third, 0.727secs off the pace.

Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg, standing in again for Sergio Perez who still has coronavirus, was fourth.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Alex Albon were fifth and sixth.

Attention in the first session focused on the ‘soft’ tyre, after Pirelli’s decision to supply rubber for this race that is one step softer than at last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The soft being used this weekend is the second-softest in Pirelli’s range and was not available last week.

All the drivers experienced problems with the soft in temperatures approaching 30C around the demanding high-speed sweeps of Silverstone, both in terms of making it last for a flying lap and in terms of durability over a longer run, and it seems likely that teams will try to avoid it if they can for the race.

At the front, Hamilton was comfortably quicker than Bottas on their first runs early in the session, setting the pace by more than 0.5secs, but did not get as much out of his lap on his second set of tyres.

There were impressive performances from Verstappen and Hulkenberg.

Verstappen spent the first 40 minutes doing assessment work and not setting a flying lap, but when he did finally go for it, he immediately went nearly 0.4secs quicker than team-mate Albon.

And Hulkenberg’s time was 0.6secs quicker than team-mate Lance Stroll.

The German did not take part in the race on his first stand-in performance last weekend, when he was flown in at the last minute after Perez tested positive before the race.

Again, this weekend, Hulkenberg’s participation was confirmed only on Friday morning, shortly before first practice.

The team had been hoping for Perez to return to the car, and had exploited a loophole provided by a change in quarantine regulations in the UK last week to make that possible. But that was rendered moot when Perez recorded another positive result following a coronavirus test on Thursday.

The team said he was feeling well, but there must be questions about whether he will also miss the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

Racing Point also found out on Friday that they had been penalised by stewards for running illegally designed brake ducts, following a protest from Renault. They have been docked 15 points and fined 400,000 euros (£360,000).

Sebastian Vettel, who struggled compared to team-mate Leclerc last weekend, was again some way off his pace, 0.5secs adrift but only two spots back in seventh place, as Ferrari persisted with the low-downforce set-up that enabled them to put in a surprisingly competitive performance last weekend.

Source link

Leave a Comment