Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2017

Silverstone speed hike stuns drivers

2017 British Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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With his lap of 1’28.496 in Friday’s afternoon session, Valtteri Bottas lapped over 3.1 seconds faster than anyone had in Friday at last year’s British Grand Prix.

This indicates F1 is on course for one of the biggest year-on-year lap time gains we’ve seen so far. Only in China did the cars find more speed compared with 12 months ago (3.7 seconds).

Of course most of the time is being found in Silverstone’s dauntingly fast corners. The cars are generating some stunning forces: In excess of 6G through Becketts. Even by Formula One’s extreme standards, this is eye-opening stuff for the drivers.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas, Silverstone, 2017
British GP practice in pictures
“The amount of downforce you carry in the high-speed corners is incredible,” says Sergio Perez.

“Of all the tracks we have raced this season, this is probably the one on which I have experienced the biggest difference compared to last year. All the reference points you have built up in the past change and this can put you at a disadvantage: it took me a bit of time to get used to the amounts of grip we have, but I am feeling comfortable now.”

The softest tyres Pirelli has brought for this weekend, the super-soft, offer only a modest performance advantage over the soft tyres. For qualifying they’re a one-lap tyre, which require some care at the end of the lap to keep them in good shape.

“Tyre-wise, I think most people are happier with the soft at the moment and that’s the trend,” says Daniel Ricciardo. “The super-soft is a bit quicker but it doesn’t seem to last as long so I think most of the race will be run on the soft tyre.”

For those who expect to reach Q3 the super-soft is still likely to be the preferred choice. However Bottas finds himself in the same situation Lewis Hamilton was in a week ago: He will take a five-place grid penalty, giving him a clear incentive to consider using the harder tyres in Q2.

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:

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’29.1061’28.49659
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’29.1841’28.54364
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’30.1371’28.82855
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’30.5171’28.95655
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’29.6041’29.09857
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’29.9421’29.58654
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’32.1711’29.93656
8Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’30.9991’30.00662
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’30.9931’30.23848
10Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’31.2101’30.38374
11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’31.2001’30.55549
12Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’30.8951’30.56255
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’31.2971’30.62476
14Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’31.6101’30.66156
15Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’31.6841’30.69561
16Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’31.0411’30.78258
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’30.83533
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1’32.4501’30.87941
19Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’33.3991’31.61653
20Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’33.0291’31.92953

2017 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 “Silverstone speed hike stuns drivers”

  1. Ferraris are looking very good on the long runs. Hoping better tyre life brings them into the race with the Mercs better one-lap pace and we’ll see a good contest.

    Go Kimi!

  2. I think the HAM long run was on supersoft. When he put on softs, he did a 91.7 and then 92.0 the next lap, just when Vettel put in its best 92.2 (same tyre).

    We don’t know fuel loads, engine mappings and such, but as of now Mercedes seems to have a clear-cut pace advantage. I hope I’m wrong, I’d like to see a closely fought race for the lead.

  3. Ferrari always seem quite behind then Merc during practice and even qualifying but during the race they – or at least Vettel – is a lot closer. If Vettel manages P3 on the grid, he will then be alongside Hamilton on the front row barring any surprises during qualification. It should be an interesting start.

  4. Is it possible to get the csv/xls/txt data somewhere?

    1. I’m on my phone now so I can’t check, but I think you can extract it from the page source.

      1. no you cant

  5. You can get it from the page. It is on a json formatted string. Check for this and you will see it:

    data.addColumn(‘number’,’Lap’);

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