By James Galloway at Silverstone
Last Updated: 12/07/19 7:24pm
F1 leading drivers admitted they found Friday’s going tough at blustery Silverstone after an intriguing opening day at the British GP – but Mercedes appear to have established an early edge.
A resurfaced track surface combined with windy conditions to create a challenging test for the grid’s 20 drivers, with inconclusive timesheet results.
“More questions than answers,” surmised Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft.
Jenson Button added: “It could be completely different tomorrow as nobody knows where they are.”
But after a rare off-weekend in Austria, when they were outperformed by both their two chief rivals, Mercedes topped both practice sessions – with Valtteri Bottas edging out Hamilton in the quicker afternoon running.
“A good day from the get-go,” said Bottas. “It felt not far away set-up wise to start with. Didn’t have to search for anything huge between the sessions, so got to enjoy this track again.”
Martin Brundle was covered in gravel dust during practice two at a windy Silverstone
But Bottas’ rivals appeared less content with their day one performances – including team-mate Lewis Hamilton, the world championship leader and favourite for victory.
“We currently look like we have got good pace, and particularly long run pace looks good, but I really struggled today if I’m really honest,” said Hamilton.
“I didn’t have the car beneath me, I was struggling with the rear end – you saw me go off multiple times. So Valtteri is a lot more comfortable in the car for whatever reason so we’ll going to dig deep tonight to try and figure out what that is.
“But, of course, not ruling it [a win] out or anything like that.”
Ferrari’s lead runner Charles Leclerc, who was third fastest, admitted: “It was quite a difficult day for us. We tested quite a lot of things. Qualy pace is not so bad but our race pace we have been struggling quite a lot.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, meanwhile, described this Friday as “one of the worst I’ve had all year” after he finished P2 down in seventh place.
More to follow…
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