Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2023

Verstappen quickest, Albon third again but electrical fault strands Leclerc in pits

2023 British Grand Prix second practice

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Max Verstappen set the fastest time again in the second practice session for the British Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc did not complete a single lap.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was less than half a tenth of a second behind the championship leader in second place. However an electrical problem left his team mate stranded in the garage for the entire hour.

Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant backed up Williams’ promising performance in the opening practice session by setting the third and fifth-fastest times, respectively. The pair were split by the second Red Bill of Sergio Perez.

After a hectic Formula 2 qualifying session ended much later than planned, the start of the day’s second F1 practice session was delayed for five minutes while the track was swept to clear gravel and other debris from the course.

All but two cars headed out on track as the session began, with only Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen remaining in the garage. After setting the pace in the earlier session, Verstappen quickly assumed his usual position on the top of the times with a 1’29.550 on the medium compound, four-tenths of a second ahead of Perez in the second Red Bull, despite Verstappen fighting the rear of his car through Club at the end of the lap. Oscar Piastri was third-fastest in the McLaren, before he improved to move second within three tenths of the pace-setter.

Zhou Guanyu complained of a problem with his Alfa Romeo and was summoned into the pit lane to have his steering wheel replaced. While Leclerc whiled away the session in the pits, his Ferrari team mate set a new benchmark on the medium tyre with a 1’29.083 as Perez went a tenth quicker than his team mate to go second.

Around 20 minutes into the session, Alonso was the first driver to fit the soft tyres during the hour. Naturally, he managed to make a major improvement over his previous best time but was unable to beat Sainz’s best time of the session, falling just half a tenth short. Next it was Verstappen’s turn to light up to timing screen on the soft tyres, easily posting the fastest time of the day with a 1’28.078.

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Perez could not get within two tenths of his team mate on the softs, but Albon went faster than him to move into second place while his Williams team mate Sargeant moved fifth on the soft tyres. Sainz could not match Verstappen’s best time but was awfully close, just 0.022s slower than the Red Bull, putting him second.

Alonso continued his run on the softs but was forced to abandon his run when he was alerted by race engineer Chris Cronin that he had picked up debris in his left-front wheel. Aston Martin called Alonso to slow and return to the pits, which he managed to do without incident. He was later able to rejoin the session.

After complaining of a lack of grip in the earlier session, Lewis Hamilton continued to report that he was struggling on the soft tyres, saying he had “no grip on these tyres”. He was pulled into the garage while his Mercedes team mate George Russell improved on the softs to go ahead of him, but only up to 11th place.

Teams turned their attention to long runs on high fuel. Red Bull fitted soft tyres to both their cars with Verstappen complaining that after nine laps, his tyres were “not holding on”. Red Bull pulled him in to the pits to switch to the medium tyres, allowing him to carry out a back-to-back run to gather valuable data for the race.

The long runs continued until the end of the hour, with no lap time improvements to change the order on the times sheet. But as the chequered flag was about to fly, Nyck de Vries appeared to suffer a right-front puncture as he hit the brakes for Village corner. He came to a stop before managing to pull his AlphaTauri off the track with the session finishing under a yellow flag.

Outside the top five, Stroll was the quickest Aston Martin in sixth place. Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Haas, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Piastri in ninth. Alonso completed the top ten drivers in tenth.

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2023 British Grand Prix second practice result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’28.07827
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’28.1000.02229
323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’28.2960.21830
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’28.3420.26430
52Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’28.7660.68829
618Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’28.8660.78830
727Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’28.8800.80228
810Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’28.8890.81127
981Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’28.9260.84829
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.1341.05626
1124Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’29.2251.14728
1263George RussellMercedesW141’29.2381.16025
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’29.2421.16424
144Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.2601.18224
1544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’29.2831.20524
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’29.3781.30028
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’29.4391.36120
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’29.4831.40525
1921Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’29.5711.49329
2016Charles LeclercFerrariSF-23No time

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2023 British Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Verstappen quickest, Albon third again but electrical fault strands Leclerc in pits”

  1. Those Williams times are just odd.

    1. @proesterchen Indeed, but clearly glory runs.

  2. Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant backed up Williams’ promising performance in the opening practice session by setting the third and fifth-fastest times, respectively. The pair were split by the second Red Bill of Sergio Perez.

    Subtle comment about RBR cost cap Will ? :)

  3. Graham (@guitargraham)
    7th July 2023, 17:43

    Williams have obviously brought a couple of FW14Bs in disguise!

    1. Ahah, that’s a fun idea, since the 1992 season was so dominant.

  4. 9 laps on Verstappen and his tyres were bad? Wish F1 could just bring a tyre war back. Really annoyed with the power Pirelli possesses in F1. Even though I expect teams to find better setups after today.

    1. Michael Rhodes
      7th July 2023, 18:40

      pirreli make the tires that F1 asks them to, not Pirelli power they have stated they would love longer lasting tires

    2. You do understand that they make those tires to spec and F1 demands that they fall apart (and precisely how that will happen, as they write the whole scenario about tire’s life from lap 0 to their death)? Pirelli’s success can only be measured by how close they got to what was asked of them to achieve, although making a wish is easy, delivering such a strange product (designed to be bad, but in a certain, complicated way) probably not so much. I don’t like Pirelli either for some reason (I suppose I do blame them too, despite knowing their circumstances), but blame F1 first. They play too many of those little games, trying to influence racing in unhealthy way to make it more “exciting”, but as it turns out tire saving (what a surprise) means more boredom, even if we get to see more pit stops. They are driving on eggs because someone thought that would be cool…

      1. True that, I still don’t trust pirelli on being a competent tyre supplier, but as I recall back when we had bridgestones and michelin, or even goodyear before, there weren’t these gimmicks that tyres had to degrade a certain way, there was the 2005 season for example where they couldn’t change tyres at all, which caught bridgestone out and caused some bad accidents such as raikkonen with the exploding tyre on last lap, but the rule was scrapped after only 1 season.

  5. Another Maldonado heroics coming on sunday…

    1. Doubt it, probably just went a lot more aggressive on their setup than they usually would since it’s British GP weekend to try and get the Williams near the top of the timesheets on a session, even if it’s just a practice session.

      Would love to be proven wrong though.

  6. Coventry Climax
    7th July 2023, 22:15

    To those puzzled by Williams; signs of significant improvement have been there for quite some time already. Albon has qualified pretty good lately. I have no idea if they ran with very low fuel today, nor what good that would do. I imagine they would like to know where they are in comparison to their competition.
    Problem however, is their race pace, although Albon slowly but gradually seems to get closer to the points. Their pace seems to be related to how mediocre the car is with the tyres and their strategy isn’t always the best either, with their 7th place the positive exception.
    Obviously, things can change again pretty quickly, but for now, I like what I see.

    1. Williams fans have suffered for a long period. Good on them for such a strong showing in front of their home crowd.
      Whether it was low fuel glory runs or genuine pace is really immaterial. No doubt it’ll have brought a smile and some pleasure to their fans.

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