Lewis Hamilton fronted Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas during second practice for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Mercedes has won all four races, and taken all four pole positions, in the coronavirus-hit 2020 campaign and was once more out in front on Friday afternoon.
Hamilton posted a time of 1:25.606, using Pirelli’s C3 tyre – which this weekend is the Medium compound – to finish 0.176s up on Soft-shod Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton currently leads Bottas by 30 points in the Drivers’ Championship.
Ricciardo leads ultra-close chasing pack
The best-of-the-rest contingent was not led by Red Bull’s Max Versappen but instead his former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
The Renault driver was only 17th in the day’s opening session but vaulted to third with a time that put him 0.016s clear of Verstappen.
A gap of eight-tenths split Hamilton and Ricciardo while a similar margin covered the six teams that have emerged as members of an expanded midfield group in 2020.
Racing Point duo Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg were fifth and sixth respectively as they registered their best times on Medium tyres.
Charles Leclerc was the highest-placed Ferrari representative in seventh, 1.2s off the pace, as team-mate Sebastian Vettel classified 14th in the sister SF1000 – and failed to finish the session.
After struggling through last weekend’s British Grand Prix Vettel’s Silverstone woes continued as he suffered a suspected engine failure, with fluid pouring from the car as he crossed the old start/finish line.
Vettel parked the wounded SF1000 on the inside of Copse.
McLaren pair Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr., along with Renault’s Esteban Ocon, rounded out the top 10, in front of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, who had AlphaTauri representatives Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly in close company.
Usual suspects at the back
Haas, Williams and Alfa Romeo have battled all season to avoid the wooden spoon over one-lap and so far the Switzerland-based team has had the least-competitive of the three cars.
That trend continued on Friday afternoon as Romain Grosjean headed George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen, with the trio ahead of their respective team-mates.
Just 0.026s separated Soft-shod Grosjean with Medium-user Russell, with Raikkonen two-tenths of a second further back in the C39.
Antonio Giovinazzi, who missed FP1 while reserve Robert Kubica drove, caused the session to be stopped two minutes from time as his car came to a halt at Becketts.
Eyes on the tyres
With each driver in possession of only two sets of the Hards – the C2 – for this weekend’s round most of the long-run performances were carried out on the Medium.
Only Renault carried out its race simulation on the Hard tyres.
Pirelli has gone one step softer than last weekend’s British Grand Prix, which featured a dramatic finale when several front-runners suffered wear-related failures on the C1 compound.
That has led to suggestions that this Sunday’s race will feature multiple stops and on the basis of higher fuel runs on Friday afternoon neither the Soft nor the Medium was lasting for a sustained period.
Weather conditions are also set to be hotter this Sunday compared to seven days previously, ostensibly raising the track temperature, and therefore adding further strain on the tyres.
Saturday’s third practice session is scheduled for 11:00 local time.
|4||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:26.437||+0.831||15|
|5||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:26.501||+0.895||24|
|6||N. Hulkenberg||Racing Point||1:26.746||+1.140||26|
|11||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:26.960||+1.354||25|
|17||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:27.535||+1.929||30|
|20||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:27.955||+2.349||26|