Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Hamilton looks to get on terms with Bottas as Mercedes lead the way

2019 British Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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A new track surface, a sprinkling of rain and blustery winds led to two error-strewn practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday.

The outcome was a mixed picture: Mercedes led the way, but one driver was happier than the other; Ferrari had good single-lap pace but their race pace is a worry; and Red Bull may be closer to their rivals than the headline times suggest.

At Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton admitted his team mate Valtteri Bottas grasped the car’s potential more quickly.

“We currently look like we’ve got good pace and particularly long-run pace looks good,” he said. “But I really struggled today if I’m really honest, I didn’t have the car beneath me. I was struggling with the rear end you saw me go off multiple times.

“Valtteri’s a lot more comfortable in the car for whatever reason. So we’re going to dig deep tonight and try to figure that out whatever that is. Of course not ruling it out or anything like that.”

We’ve seen this pattern before recently: Bottas hitting the ground running on day one, then Hamilton coming back at him on Saturday when the serious lapping begins. Tellingly, in Austria Bottas referred to past occasions when Hamilton had adopted his set-ups; nothing untoward about that of course, in fact quite normal when teams experiment with different configurations on Fridays, but it’s a sign these Friday-to-Saturday switcharounds have not escaped his attention.

In Austria Bottas became unstuck on the preparation lap for his final Q3 run – a lesson he will surely have learned from. Silverstone’s many straights will make having a slipstream in qualifying important, so we can expect more brinkmanship and last-corner shenanigans in the final minutes of Q3 on Saturday.

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Ferrari’s one-lap pace looked decent – potentially even in with a shout of taking on the Mercedes. But they were especially hard on their front tyres, which could prove limiting in the race. The cooler conditions forecast on Sunday may help them.

Red Bull’s drivers could not have contrasted more starkly in their assessments of how Friday had gone. Pierre Gasly called it his best Friday of the year; Max Verstappen described it as his worst. But the latter acknowledged he could see plenty of room for improvement in his lap time, indicating the RB15 could be in the thick of it again, particularly if its race stints are as competitive as they were in Austria.

Behind them, McLaren again seem to have made the largest year-on-year step of any team, indicating they are candidates to lead the midfield once more.

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:

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Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’27.629 1’26.732 53
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’28.122 1’26.801 60
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’28.253 1’26.929 50
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1’27.173 1’27.249 55
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’28.304 1’27.180 50
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1’29.170 1’27.546 60
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’28.009 1’27.562 52
8 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren-Renault 1’29.162 1’27.987 69
9 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1’29.093 1’27.997 63
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1’29.453 1’28.002 58
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1’29.500 1’28.008 61
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’30.605 1’28.059 53
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’30.747 1’28.126 44
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1’29.031 1’28.128 41
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’28.803 1’28.217 54
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1’29.657 1’28.240 61
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’30.099 1’28.294 51
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’30.811 1’28.794 47
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1’32.121 1’29.935 63
20 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’30.741 1’30.514 36

Teams’ progress vs 2018

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2019 British Grand Prix

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Author information

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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One comment on “Hamilton looks to get on terms with Bottas as Mercedes lead the way”

  1. LH already the acknowledged rain master!
    Now he has taken the double bluff sand bagging to a new height!
    Now see why he’s a multiple world champion.

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