Carlos Sainz of Ferrari showcased impressive speed during the opening practice sessions for the Formula 1 2023 British Grand Prix, challenging Max Verstappen of Red Bull. However, a closer examination of the data reveals that Verstappen had little pressure when it came to race pace.
Unfortunately, Charles Leclerc encountered an electric problem in his Ferrari, causing him to miss all of FP2. The Aston Martin drivers also faced minor issues that led to interruptions during the afternoon session.
Mercedes experienced a more challenging day overall, which left the home crowd with less reason to cheer for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. However, Williams unexpectedly displayed a strong performance in both FP1 and FP2, much to the delight of the fans at Silverstone.
Let’s dive into the key takeaways from Friday’s events at the 2023 British GP.
The first session, FP1, commenced at 12:30 local time with a distinct atmosphere. Teams were experimenting with test items alongside their usual setup choices, considering the ongoing development race behind Red Bull. Various aerodynamic measurements and flow viz were observed.
Unsurprisingly, Red Bull dominated the session, with Verstappen leading the way and Sergio Perez closely behind. Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc secured the fourth and fifth positions, respectively. Notably, Alex Albon surprised everyone by placing his Williams in third, much to the delight of the home crowd.
In FP2, starting after 16:00, teams focused on understanding the new Pirelli tires’ enhanced construction. Verstappen continued his strong performance, topping the timesheets again. This time, Sainz closely trailed Verstappen by a mere 0.022 seconds.
Unfortunately, Leclerc experienced a short circuit issue, preventing him from participating in the entire second session. FP2 was delayed for five minutes to sweep the track after Formula 2 qualifying resulted in several offs and crashes.
Impressive Performances and Challenges
Williams had a reason to celebrate as Albon backed up his third-place finish in FP1 with another impressive third place in FP2. Logan Sargeant, Albon’s teammate, secured fifth place. Williams showcased unexpected high-speed prowess reminiscent of their performance in Canada.
While Red Bull and Ferrari demonstrated their one-lap pace, Mercedes faced difficulties, with Hamilton and Russell failing to secure top-10 positions in FP2. Lando Norris of McLaren also struggled, finishing in 14th place. Albon’s strong showings in both sessions brought some joy to the home crowd.
New Tyres and Insights
Teams dedicated considerable time to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres during the long-run data-gathering exercises in FP2. Haas even completed nearly half the distance of a full Grand Prix, with Nico Hulkenberg extensively testing the hard compound.
Red Bull’s performance on the soft tyres stood out significantly, suggesting that they were running a standardized fuel load while managing their pace according to the expected tire behavior at other tracks. Aston Martin and Mercedes showcased promising results on the soft compound, with Hamilton experiencing consistent lap times and improved balance as the tyres wore.
Challenges Faced and Strategies to Consider
The crosswind and high track temperatures in FP2 posed challenges for the drivers, particularly in low-speed corners that are not favorable for ground-effect cars. Rear sliding and difficulties in maintaining optimal temperature balance affected tyre preservation.
Ferrari displayed a notable performance on the medium tyres, indicating potential strategic choices if the softs do not feature in the race. The team may consider splitting tactics across its cars, given Sainz’s advantage of an extra set of new hard tyres compared to the Red Bull and Leclerc. However, Ferrari has struggled with qualifying calls in lower temperatures or rain conditions in recent races.
Max Verstappen expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance, emphasizing the car’s overall strength and good long-run performance. Carlos Sainz highlighted the need to focus on tyre management and race pace. Fernando Alonso mentioned the tricky conditions due to strong winds and looked forward to analyzing the collected data. Lewis Hamilton admitted to facing difficulties with the car’s balance but acknowledged improvements towards the end of his run.
Friday’s practice sessions provided valuable insights for the 2023 British GP. Red Bull demonstrated impressive speed and consistency, while Ferrari faced challenges and Mercedes struggled to secure top positions. Williams surprised with strong performances, and various teams focused on understanding the new Pirelli tyres. The race strategy may revolve around tire choices, and Ferrari aims to improve its qualifying decisions. The weather conditions forecasted for the weekend may further impact the dynamics of the race.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Formula 1 practice
What were the highlights of Friday’s Formula 1 practice at the British GP?
The highlights of Friday’s Formula 1 practice at the British GP included Red Bull’s strong performance, Ferrari facing challenges, Williams’ surprising performance, and insights into tire strategies and performance analysis.
Who were the top performers during the practice sessions?
Max Verstappen of Red Bull showcased impressive pace throughout the sessions, while Carlos Sainz of Ferrari closely challenged him. Williams drivers, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, also impressed with their performances.
Did any teams face issues during the practice sessions?
Yes, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari missed the entire FP2 session due to an electrical problem. Aston Martin drivers had interruptions in their sessions due to car problems, and Mercedes struggled overall.
What were the key insights from the practice sessions?
The practice sessions provided insights into the performance of the new Pirelli tires, with Red Bull demonstrating strong performance and Mercedes facing challenges. Ferrari showed promise on medium tires, and Williams unexpectedly displayed high-speed prowess.
What were the driver comments about the sessions?
Max Verstappen expressed satisfaction with the car’s performance, Carlos Sainz emphasized the need to focus on tire management and race pace, Fernando Alonso mentioned the tricky conditions, and Lewis Hamilton acknowledged difficulties with the car’s balance.
How does the practice session set the stage for the rest of the weekend?
The practice session gives an indication of Red Bull’s strong position, Ferrari’s challenges despite their one-lap pace, and Mercedes’ struggle. The tire choices and potential weather conditions for the rest of the weekend may further impact the dynamics of the race.