Lewis Hamilton gained the top spot of the practice time sheet at Silverstone, leading teammate Valtteri Bottas in FP2 for the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
The gap between the Mercedes drivers was fine, with Hamilton edging Bottas by just 0.138s on the soft tire, but the German marque extended its advantage over the field.
Daniel Ricciardo was unexpectedly third-quickest for Renault, albeit 0.815s off the pace. Excluding qualifying for the British Grand Prix, it’s the largest single-lap deficit to Mercedes since the sport arrived at Silverstone last weekend.
Ricciardo and teammate Esteban Ocon, who ended the day 10th quickest, were the only two drivers to sample the hard compound for the session, which is expected to be the spine of any strategy come Sunday. Each driver is allowed only two sets of the hard compound for the weekend, leaving the pair with only a set each for what is expected to be a two-stop race.
Max Verstappen was fourth quickest behind Ricciardo for Red Bull Racing, his deficit slipping out by a tenth of a second to 0.815s from morning to afternoon. The Dutchman also lost almost 20 minutes late in the session to setup changes that left him down on mileage, with only 15 laps completed for FP2.
Racing Point teammates Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg followed, the Canadian leading the German by 0.25s.
Charles Leclerc was the highest-placed Ferrari driver at the end of another difficult day for the Scuderia. The Monegasque was 1.2s off the pace and suffered visibly bad blistering on his right-rear medium tires as he moved past the 10-lap mark, underscoring the softness of the tires this weekend as well as the team’s struggles to optimize setup.
But matters were worse for teammate Sebastian Vettel, whose car ground to a halt with five minutes remaining in FP2 with an apparent power unit failure. The German was powering over the kerbs out of Woodcote when the car let go, spilling fluids onto the track as he searched for a safe place to stop, eventually settling for a patch of grass at Copse. He finished 14th in the order and almost 1.6s off the pace.
McLaren was much improved in the second Friday session, with Lando Norris topping Carlos Sainz for eighth by 0.048s. Both drivers again avoided using either the medium or the hard tire, saving their full allocations for qualifying and the race. They were the only two to eschew the durable compounds, with all bar the Renault drivers using a set of mediums.
Ocon was 1.3s off the pace in 10th, 0.032s quicker than Red Bull Racing’s Alex Albon, who was half a second behind teammate Verstappen. AlphaTauri teammates Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly followed in 12th and 13th ahead of Vettel’s stricken Ferrari.
Romain Grosjean beat George Russell to 15th, with Kimi Raikkonen edging Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi to 18th.
Antonio Giovinazzi brought up the rear after his car stopped on track at Maggots near the end of the session with a possible gearbox problem, triggering a red flag that truncated FP2 of its final two minutes.