Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Bottas lays down gauntlet by leading British F1 GP practice ahead of Hamilton, but penalty looms

Valtteri Bottas topped both British Grand Prix practice sessions on Friday to continue his assault on the summit of the Formula 1 drivers' champion...

Bottas lays down gauntlet by leading British F1 GP practice ahead of Hamilton, but penalty looms

Valtteri Bottas topped both British Grand Prix practice sessions on Friday to continue his assault on the summit of the Formula 1 drivers' championship. However his challenge for this weekend has been dampened somewhat by needing to take a new gearbox, as team mate Lewis Hamilton did in Austria. This means that Bottas will move back five grid positions from wherever he qualifies.

Mercedes revealed on Friday evening that Bottas' gearbox had shown similar damage to Hamilton's but less severe and they had hoped to coax it to the end of the six race cycle. However that did not work out and so he's taking the penalty at Silverstone.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari have new engines for their drivers here; scheduled updates. Mercedes' Andy Cowell revealed that these are not a significant step forward and had already been run by customers taking a new engine in Canada.

Ferrari's engine upgrade is believed to be a step of around 10-15hp, with also some modifications required to be made following a technical directive from the FIA on combustion. Raikkonen has a new turbo, while Vettel is already on his fourth turbo for the season and the next one will force a grid penalty.

On track, Bottas set the fastest time of 1m28.496s on super-soft tyres in FP2, beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.047s in the process; but his time was set on the slower soft tyres. Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest Ferrari driver with his time of 1m28.828s proving sufficient to keep Sebastian Vettel at bay by 0.128s.

Bottas started Friday's FP2 on medium tyres, anticipating a long-run on the hard-wearing circuit on Sunday, but the rest of the grid emerged with softs then equipped super-softs for the second practice session of the day.

Becketts caught numerous drivers out on Friday as the cars carry a lot more speed through the preceding Maggots corner this year with the extra downforce. It wasn't a case of the cars looking skittish; rather the 2017-spec cars shine, planted through these high-speed turns. Wth the new-found pace comes a new-found challenge.

Raikkonen was caught out mid-session as was Williams' Felipe Massa at the same corner, the Brazilian having finished FP2 eighth.

Max Verstappen was the last driver to set a time within a second of Bottas finishing fifth, six-tenths off the top. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo followed in sixth, 1.090s slower than Bottas.

Renault had contrasting performances from their pair of drivers. While Jolyon Palmer finished 18th, ahead of both Saubers, Nico Hulkenberg finished FP2 seventh with a tidy time of 1m29.936s – Massa followed by 0.070s.

Rounding out the top 10 was Fernando Alonso (ninth), producing another stunning short-run performance in his McLaren while Esteban Ocon finished 10th in his Force India VJM10 having completed the most laps (42) by the end of FP2.

The pair of Toro Rossos took 11th and 12th, with Carlos Sainz Jr leading having set a time of 1m30.555s. Sainz spun at Becketts early on in FP2 and a new floor was fitted to his car with less than half the session remaining, when he finally managed to set a time. He completed the fewest number of laps with 26.

Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was the only other driver apart from Bottas to equip medium compounds for FP2, finishing just 0.012s away from Sainz.

Sergio Perez was 0.241s slower than his tenth-place team-mate, finishing 13th and holding off Romain Grosjean, whose sixth-place finish in Austria will be hard to repeat here at Silverstone. The Haas did, however, complete a long and consistent run on super-softs and the Frenchman rarely finished over 1m35.500s over FP2.

Haas counterpart Kevin Magnussen was sluggish in 17th, behind rookies Lance Stroll (15th) and Stoffel Vandoorne in 17th. Marcus Ericsson, who complained of “understeer everywhere,” was the faster of the Sauber duo but the Swiss outfit's returns on its 2016-spec Ferrari engine are evidently diminishing at this high-speed circuit.

FP1

Bottas edged Hamilton – both Mercedes on soft tyres – by 0.078s in FP1 earlier on Friday while rival Vettel was sixth fastest on super-softs, 1.411s off the summit having spun at Becketts. Vettel was testing the 'shield' device, a proposed measure to increase drivers' safety.

The two Red Bulls, led by Verstappen, were third and fourth within half a second of Bottas and Raikkonen followed in fifth.

Toro Rosso's Kvyat was 1.1789s behind Bottas in seventh while Alonso came out swinging, eighth fastest. Williams' Massa (ninth) and McLaren's rookie Vandoorne rounded out the top 10 in an FP1 where only Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo finished within a second off the top spot.

At the rear was the Renault pair led by Hulkenberg while Wehrlein was the fastest of the two back-marking Saubers.

Have your say on Bottas' Free Practice performance in the comment section below.

Free Practice 2 Times, 2017 Formula 1 British Grand Prix: 

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR

TIME

GAP

LAPS

1

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

1m28.496s

-

31

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

1m28.543s

0.047s

35

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m28.828s

0.332s

36

4

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1m28.956s

0.460s

36

5

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1m29.098s

0.602s

32

6

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1m29.586s

1.090s

35

7

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

1m29.936s

1.440s

37

8

Felipe Massa

Williams

1m30.006s

1.510s

36

9

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

1m30.238s

1.742s

28

10

Esteban Ocon

Force India

1m30.383s

1.887s

42

11

Carlos Sainz Jr

Toro Rosso

1m30.555s

2.059s

26

12

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

1m30.562s

2.066s

34

13

Sergio Perez

Force India

1m30.624s

2.128s

43

14

Romain Grosjean

Haas

1m30.661s

2.165s

33

15

Lance Stroll

Williams

1m30.695s

2.199s

37

16

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

1m30.782s

2.286s

31

17

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1m30.835s

2.339s

33

18

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

1m30.879s

2.383s

25

19

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

1m31.616s

3.120s

27

20

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

1m31.929s

3.433s

30

shares
comments
Vettel says Shield made him “dizzy” in test run

Previous article

Vettel says Shield made him “dizzy” in test run

Next article

Renault: No "obvious roadblocks" to Kubica F1 comeback

Renault: No "obvious roadblocks" to Kubica F1 comeback
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021