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5 things we learned from Friday practice at the British Grand Prix

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British fans were out in force at Silverstone on Friday, with 106,000 braving the rain and enjoying the following sunshine in the home of motorsport. So after two practice sessions, only one of which was dry, who looks hot and who has work to do overnight?

1. Ferrari at home in the wide corners of Silverstone

There is something about this venue that has brought out the best in Charles Leclerc – the Ferrari driver has finished third, third and second in the last three races of this event – but it was team-mate Carlos Sainz who shone the brightest on Friday. .

FP2 REPORT: Sainz leads the British duo of Hamilton and Norris in second practice at Silverstone

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The Spaniard was impressive in FP2 and our ideal lap data shows that he could have had an even bigger advantage had he brought together all his best mini-sectors. Leclerc would move into second place in this metric, with Ferrari emerging as the strongest of all in qualifying.

Their race pace wasn’t that promising, but they’re still second overall, a couple of tenths off Red Bull, and they lead the way in terms of pace in the slow corners. If they can qualify well, they will be in contention for a first win since the Australian Grand Prix.


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2. A long night ahead for Red Bull after a difficult day

Red Bull were the favorites heading into Silverstone, not only because they have won the last six races in a row, but because they have a car that boasts a straight-line speed advantage over their immediate rivals.

READ MORE: Red Bull ‘miles away’ at Silverstone, says Perez, while Verstappen says ‘not a surprise’ to see Ferrari lead FP2

But Friday practice didn’t go as smoothly. Max Verstappen was unhappy with how the car felt throughout, the Dutchman referencing a strange noise on the team radio. His teammate Sergio Perez struggled even more, saying the car was “miles away” from what they anticipated based on the simulation data.

Despite the struggles, and the lack of correlation, Perez remained positive about the weekend ahead, saying Ferrari looks strong “but nothing too special” and anticipates the championship leaders will be able to match the red cars. in the classification.


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3. Updated Mercedes looks like a step forward

The good news for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell is that the W13 didn’t bounce down the straights. The bad news was that it bounced quite a bit in wide turns.

Overall, though, this was a positive day for the reigning world champions, and the early signs are that their updated car is a step up, bringing them closer to Ferrari and Red Bull, and they are the quickest of them all around the corners. high speed.

READ MORE: “We’ve definitely improved,” says Hamilton after crowd-pleasing second Silverstone practice

Both drivers feel there is work to be done in a single lap, but their race pace was very encouraging. “Normally we see the kind of difference, half a second, maybe even seven, eight tenths to the fastest teams in a long race, and that just didn’t seem to be there,” Mercedes track boss Andrew Shovlin said.

“It’s probably a little bit the circuit, the circuit that suits the car. There’s definitely a lot to work on, there’s a lot of rebounding and it’s tricky at high speed right now, but hopefully the updates have pushed us in the right direction.”

Our data suggests they are third-best in the long runs, around 0.67sec off the pace, but word in the paddock is that ultimately the Silver Arrows are a bit closer than that.


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4. McLaren looks useful on home soil

Lando Norris finished the British Grand Prix fifth in 2020 and fourth in 2021, but coming into his home race it didn’t look like McLaren had the pace to continue that pattern and secure a podium finish.

The top three may still be a stretch, but Norris was in fine form on Friday, showing such strong pace that he even surprised himself with how fast he went en route to the third-fastest time. On the straights, only Williams had the better performance.

READ MORE: Norris laments ‘extremely difficult’ first day of racing at Silverstone despite finishing third in FP2

Our data shows they are roughly fourth fastest in terms of one lap pace which makes Q3 the minimum target and although they drop back to fifth in the race pace standings they can be confident in the steps they have given from Friday to Saturday. year that has helped them perform better than expected.


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5. Alpine could be dark horses

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were keen to play down Alpine’s strong pace on Friday, but the data suggests the highly improved package has worked in a big way.

Their qualifying pace puts them fifth, but that improves to fourth and best of the rest when you look at fuel-guzzling operation, just three-tenths of a second a lap drifting Mercedes, that’s as close as you’ll get. They have been in all year. His straight line speed is still strong, and that’s a huge advantage at fast and flowing Silverstone.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from a thrilling second practice session at the British Grand Prix

The caveat is that they have struggled to maintain impressive speed on Friday, in terms of short and long runs, over the weekend in recent events, particularly on Sunday when the points are doled out. But they can take heart at the first signs that their update is working as expected, and with some good preparation overnight, it’s possible to hit the ground running on Saturday.

And with wet weather forecast, possibly even surprising in qualifying, Alonso could be feeling quite excited, having excelled in such conditions on his way to second on the grid last time out in Canada.


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