Red Bull expect Mercedes to pull clear tomorrow

2016 British Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Mercedes set a scorching pace around Silverstone on Friday – one which only Red Bull looked capable of keeping up with.

While Lewis Hamilton had the best part of four tenths of a second in hand over Daniel Ricciardo in the afternoon session, the Red Bull pair’s sector times indicate the real gap to Mercedes may be as little as half that.

The RB12 looked great through Silverstone’s fast curves
However Ricciardo was realistic about their potential. “We look fairly good compared to Lewis at the moment but I feel they’ll have a bit more at their disposal tomorrow,” he said after Friday’s running.

Hamilton set a fractionally quicker time in the cooler conditions of the first practice session. As the track temperature jumped by over 12 degrees in the second session his medium tyres appeared to drop off fairly quickly on his longest run.

Meanwhile the Red Bull drivers enjoyed more consistent pace on their tyres – Ricciardo on the softs, Verstappen on the mediums. The latter has been the tyre of choice at Silverstone in recent years. However Mercedes’ ability to evaluate the tyres was hampered by problems which confined Nico Rosberg to the garage throughout the second session.

A water leak was diagnosed on his engine, which Toto Wolff confirmed is only a ‘Friday unit’ and therefore not putting Rosberg at risk of a penalty. Nonetheless they did not want to risk damaging it and losing it from the pool of available engines.

Behind Mercedes and Red Bull the next-quickest team was not Ferrari but Force India. They chose to do their qualifying simulation in the first session rather than the second and Nico Hulkenberg duly set a time neither Ferrari could beat. This was despite their car being particularly susceptible to the windy conditions seen at Silverstone today.

Ericsson sampled Sauber’s new rear wing
Ferrari were eight tenths of a second down on Mercedes and while Sebastian Vettel eked out longer life from his medium compound tyres than Hamilton he did so by lapping much slower. Their fight is likely to be with Red Bull this weekend.

McLaren continued to show promising form, albeit with the usual caveat that they tend not to improve as much as the others on Saturday, as Fernando Alonso was next behind the two Ferraris. “Fernando found some good pace today,” said Jenson Button, “so tomorrow my car will hopefully be fitted with new components, we’ll get some positive running under our belts and we’ll look a bit more competitive too.”

There was some encouragement for Sauber too as Marcus Ericsson finally tested an upgrade for the team’s C35 – a revised rear wing. However reaching Q2 may still be difficult for them here.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.6541’31.66065
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’31.68733
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.7731’32.05160
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.2021’32.28657
5Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’32.4921’34.32164
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1’32.5011’32.57058
7Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’33.0391’32.73663
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’33.5271’33.04052
9Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’33.2351’34.35664
10Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.4461’33.84044
11Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’34.2631’33.49374
12Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’34.5471’33.61454
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.7381’34.13954
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’34.1321’33.76343
15Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’34.4561’33.80162
16Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’34.00030
17Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’34.8051’34.15444
18Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’36.1361’34.54962
19Jolyon PalmerRenault1’34.7871’34.61068
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’36.0031’34.72253
21Kevin MagnussenRenault1’34.95939
22Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’36.6471’35.84163
23Charles LeclercHaas-Ferrari1’35.86925
24Esteban OconRenault1’35.98030

2016 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Red Bull expect Mercedes to pull clear tomorrow”

  1. And come tomorrow when Ferrari removes the old practice engines and install their race engines reality will set in for Red bull. Gee i wonder what engine modes the top teams were using.. thats right nobody knows….so as usual its pointless to come to conclusions as to which team will be where in the race.
    I do recall Ferrari doing glory runs in practice then falling off a cliff a few years back. I suspect red bull is doing the same since they are so quick to run to the nearest microphone to tell the world how fast they are.

    1. When Ferrari put in their race engines, they may still find themselves behind at least one of the Force India’s. I’m surprised no-one else has looked at/copied the nose concept of FI, it seems that as they refine it, they’re only getting better/faster. I realise there’s a lot more to it than just the nose, but there is something good there no doubt.

  2. To be honest, only Toto Wolf can see incoming Ferrari challange.

    Looks fairly straight forward, luckily Lewis and Nico sre free to race… and maybe some brexit of water drops from clouds?

    1. Is “brexit” now a generic term for something surprising and unwelcome?

      1. Unwelcome yes…..but not surprising in England.

  3. Where are all the cry baby/conspiracy comments cuz a Merc had some technical issues, and even lost half of practice because of it? Oh wait, it’s Ros. In HamLand.. hhh

    1. the skwirrell
      9th July 2016, 7:27

      ^^^ +1 and Comment of the Year

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