Lewis Hamilton was a tenth quicker than Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in second practice for the Anniversary Grand Prix. The world champion set his fastest lap on the medium tyres, but it still allowed him to outpace Bottas who set his fastest time on soft tyres.
Mercedes once again look the team to beat at Silverstone, showing they have the pace. Bottas was the first of the two to set time going one second faster than Racing Points Lance Stroll, Hamilton responded by going six thousandths faster on the first run. The two drivers then improved into the 25’s by the start of the long runs.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in the Renault but had a lap deleted earlier in the session for exceeding track limits which left the Australian eight tenths behind Hamilton and one hundredth faster than his former teammate Max Verstappen.
The Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg set their fastest times on the medium tyre going fifth and sixth, they were separated by just over two and a half tenths. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was seventh fastest over a second off the pace and ahead of both the McLaren’s of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.
Racing Point the main talking points off the track, the team were found guilty of copying last years brakes from Mercedes where they have been docked all points from the last three races. However, are still allowed to run the same brakes.
The team are permitted to run it in the same specification from this weekend at Silverstone onwards without facing a further penalty. Rivals haven’t ruled out an appeal, and have until FP3 to lodge an ‘intent to appeal.’
McLaren’s pace being a little bit surprising as last weekend they appeared to be able to run on the fringes of the top two teams and in the race managed to be running fourth before a tyre failure dropped Sainz out of the points.
The main focus of the teams was on the tyres, following Sunday’s Grand Prix the teams wanted to understand the failures during the race. The selection for this weekends race is that the move to go a step softer could force the teams into a two-stop race.
Sebastian Vettel was only fourteenth, but nearing the end of the session the Ferrari driver was seen slowing and then stopping along the old pit lane. Ferrari will now have questions about reliability after the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi also was forced to stop on track.
Vettel’s issue was covered by the virtual safety car, but the session was red-flagged in the final minutes when Giovinazzi’s car lost drive approaching Maggots and he ground to a halt in the runoff area ahead of Becketts.
The second Renault of Esteban Ocon was tenth fastest, ahead of Alex Albon and the two Alpha Tauri’s of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly. Haas’s Romain Grosjean was fifteenth fastest ahead of George Russell, while teammate Kevin Magnussen was eighteenth.
Mercedes were going to be quicker this weekend as the weather has remained dry and the rubber intact from last week. Hamilton dominated last weekends race and was two seconds a lap faster than Stroll’s fastest time in FP2 last weekend. You have to believe this weekend is going to be the same story.
Red Bull have gone backwards-looking week on week the lap time only improved by around nine-tenths whereas Mercedes has jumped by 2.7 seconds comparing FP2 times. You need to ask then are we set for another Mercedes domination in Sunday’s race, and could they go even quicker in qualifying?
Again McLaren is looking as if they are leading the midfield and ahead of Ferrari who remains a second off the pace. The engine failure for Vettel is not going to help the team and places even more pressure on them, you have to say he will probably need an engine change beyond his allocation for the season at some point.