The first day on track for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone served up a typically English menu when it came to the weather, with a sudden downpour preceding brilliant sunshine, although strong and gusty winds were also a feature, complicating life for the drivers. The first session posed more questions than it answered, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc completing just 15 laps between them on the Intermediate tyres. The second hour was far more useful, with the Spaniard and the Monegasque able to evaluate two of the three slick compounds that Pirelli has brought to Silverstone. On a dry track the Ferrari pair worked on set-up in both race configuration and with a low fuel load. Sainz was fastest overall, with Leclerc fifth.
FP1. Just before the start of the session, rain soaked the track. Charles and Carlos went out on Intermediate tyres to assess the conditions, which could be repeated tomorrow during qualifying. The Spaniard pitted immediately, while the Monegasque did four laps, the best in 1’43”801. After a short pause, Carlos went out again and posted a 1’42”967. But then it became clear that the track was still not dry enough for slicks, while not really being suited to Intermediates either, as they would just get damaged, so all the drivers pitted. After around 30 minutes, the cars finally went out again for the final few minutes, but an off-track excursion from Lance Stroll brought out the red flags and the session did not resume.
FP2. The second hour of British Grand Prix free practice at Silverstone took place entirely in dry conditions and was therefore much more meaningful than the first session, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both completing a lot of laps on their way to be fastest overall and fifth respectively. Scuderia Ferrari and the other teams were able to make up for some of the time lost earlier: Carlos and Charles started off on the Medium tyres, gradually improving their lap times. Leclerc did a 1’29”639 and then a 1’29”462, while Sainz stopped the clocks in 1’29”962 before improving down to a 1’29”543. After pitting to take on Soft tyres, Carlos managed a 1’28”942, with Charles posting a 1’29”404. In the final part of the session, both drivers focused on long runs, with Carlos doing a total of 28 laps, three more than Charles. In terms of data acquisition the day delivered less than usual, which is why the final hour of free practice tomorrow at 12 local (13 CEST) will be even more important than usual, in the run up to qualifying at 15 local (16 CEST).
Carlos Sainz #55
A busy second session after the lack of running in FP1. We had to put together an intense run plan for FP2 to properly check both the short run and the long run pace.
It was quite a challenging session. The wind made it tricky to get the right balance for the high-speed sections and the correct compromise for tyres in the low-speed ones. Overall we were quick, but it felt like there is margin to improve.
Qualifying tomorrow could get interesting due to the weather, so those few laps in wet conditions in FP1 were also useful. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Charles Leclerc #16
We didn’t run much in FP1 today, but we did a few laps in wet conditions to have some data should there be a wet qualifying tomorrow. Once the rain stopped, we put on a set of Soft tyres but we weren’t able to complete any laps on them due to a red flag.
FP2 was a bit cleaner and I could tell that our performance felt good in the car. I am confident that we will be competitive and it will be a matter of putting everything together.