Max Verstappen was fastest once again in second practice for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix but only by a slender margin over Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, as Williams kept up its impressive form at Silverstone in FP2.
> Just 0.022s separates Verstappen and Sainz
> Leclerc fails to make it out at all in FP2
> Williams in the top three again with Albon
> Neither Mercedes driver in the top 10
Red Bull driver Verstappen was fastest straight out of the blocks on mediums at the start of the second hour-long session with a 0.464-second margin over team-mate Sergio Perez.
But the switch to soft tyres for qualifying simulation runs at least closed up the leaderboard even if Verstappen, among the first of the frontrunners to run softs, initially extended his advantage to the tune of a second.
His best time of the session ended up being a 1m28.078s – half a second up on his FP1 benchmark – but that was a mere 0.022s faster than Sainz managed in a Ferrari SF-23 that for the past two grand prix weekends has appeared to be the RB19’s closest challenger in race trim.
Even more impressive was a repeat top-three appearance from Alex Albon, who was within a quarter of a second of Verstappen’s best effort and even beat the second Red Bull of Perez.
Williams was given more encouragement by Logan Sargeant, who despite being the best part of half a second down on team-mate Albon ended FP2 in a strong fifth. Williams’s long-run pace looked less competitive, however.
Lance Stroll was sixth and one tenth further back, the Aston Martin driver having two notable moments over the radio as he first noted his mirror had come loose – Stroll was shown holding the left-hand mirror while negotiating the Maggots/Becketts complex at reduced speed – then later reported he’d been hit on the hand by a stone.
Team-mate Fernando Alonso completed the top 10, having been asked to pit as he had debris around his front-left axle moments before Stroll’s mirror came loose. Alonso returned to the track soon after to conduct long runs.
Between the two Aston Martins, Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Haas with less than half a tenth separating him, Alpine driver Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri, sampling the upgraded McLaren for the first time at Silverstone this weekend.
Neither Mercedes driver made the top 10, with George Russell its fastest representative in 12th, 1.160s from Verstappen’s best time.
He reported late on in the session that he had “no grip” and was “sliding all over the place”, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton ran deep early on in the session at Brooklands and also hopped over a kerb en route to 15th – though his time was a mere 0.045s slower than Russell’s.
They at least managed plenty of running; the same could not be said for Charles Leclerc, who played no part in FP2 at all.
Ferrari reported shortly after the start of the session that it was investigating an electrical issue on Leclerc’s car. It issued no further update, with mechanics forming a human wall in front of the SF-23 in the garage during FP2.
Practice 2 Results
|Nyck de Vries